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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

English, Finance, 1 season, 709 episodes, 3 days, 11 hours, 39 minutes
About
Real training for HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) Technicians. Including recorded tech training, interviews, diagnostics and general conversations about the trade.
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Make Summer Work for You w/ Matt Bruner

In this episode of the HVAC School podcast, host Bryan Orr welcomes Matt Bruner to discuss the concept of a "summer survival guide" for HVAC professionals. They explore strategies for maintaining work-life balance during the busy summer season and share personal experiences on prioritizing family and personal well-being while managing the demands of the HVAC industry. The conversation delves into the importance of intentional planning before the summer rush begins. Matt shares how he and his family implement practices like scheduling an end-of-summer vacation, utilizing daycare services, and outsourcing lawn care to create more family time. Bryan emphasizes the need for financial discipline, avoiding impulsive purchases, and instead investing in services that can alleviate stress and create more personal time. The discussion turns to the challenges of people-pleasing tendencies in the workplace and with clients. Both hosts stress the importance of setting boundaries, learning to say no, and prioritizing one's own family and well-being over excessive work hours or unreasonable client demands. They also touch on the evolution of the HVAC industry, discussing how younger workers are bringing a fresh perspective on work-life balance and how businesses are adapting to these changing expectations. Key topics covered in the podcast: Creating a "summer survival guide" for HVAC professionals Strategies for maintaining work-life balance during peak seasons Financial planning and discipline to support personal priorities Setting boundaries with employers and clients The evolution of work culture in the HVAC industry Balancing the desire to help customers with personal and family needs Implementing business practices that reduce stress and improve quality of life The importance of contentment and avoiding the trap of constant comparison Adapting service hours and availability to suit personal and family needs Overcoming the urge to always be available and learning to prioritize personal time   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
7/11/202444 minutes, 30 seconds
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How do Inverter Air Conditioners Work? - Short #201

In this short podcast episode, Bryan answers a listener-submitted question: How do inverter air conditioners work? Inverter-driven systems have variable capacity to match loads. We can provide cooling or heating BTUs to match the needs of the space without overcompensating or undercompensating and causing temperature swings. Load matching also helps us get better efficiency out of the system. High-humidity climates also benefit from load matching, as equipment doesn't dehumidify well unless it has been running the entire time. When set up and designed properly, variable frequency drives (VFDs) improve comfort, efficiency, and even dehumidification. You can "overclock" your compressor to get more BTUs out of it without oversizing, particularly when you have high heating loads due to the cold weather. Inverter-driven equipment takes AC power in, runs it through a rectifier circuit, and turns it into rough power that resembles DC power. The current is then smoothed out and goes through the inverter bridge circuit. Unlike an analog AC wave, we rely on pulse-width modulation (PWM) to simulate three-phase power and control the motor speeds according to a space's needs. We typically troubleshoot residential inverter-driven equipment by following the manufacturer flowcharts and possibly by communicating with tech support. Commercial VFDs are external to the motors and tend to be a bit more universal rather than manufacturer-specific.   Watch the livestream about VFDs & inverters with Matthew Taylor and Corey Cruz HERE, and you can also watch the livestream about cold climate heat pumps with Ross Trethewey and Russ King HERE. Learn more about NCI's High-Performance HVAC Summit at https://www.gotosummit.com/.  Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
7/9/202410 minutes, 39 seconds
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How to Size Dehums w/ Tim De Stasio

In this episode of the HVAC School podcast, host Bryan Orr interviews Tim De Stasio, an experienced HVAC practitioner and consultant. Tim shares his journey in the HVAC industry, from his early days in vocational school to running his own contracting business for 12 years. He now focuses on consulting, design, and contractor training, allowing him to pursue his passion for HVAC while sharing his knowledge with others. The conversation delves deep into the world of dehumidifiers, exploring their importance in modern HVAC systems, especially in humid climates. Tim emphasizes the need for supplementary dehumidification in many homes, particularly during part-load conditions when air conditioning systems may not effectively control humidity. He explains the process of selecting and sizing dehumidifiers, stressing the importance of considering factors such as peak latent load conditions, actual dehumidifier performance under real-world conditions, and static pressure effects on output capacity. The discussion also covers the critical role of proper envelope sealing and ductwork in managing humidity. Tim advocates for addressing these issues before installing a dehumidifier, highlighting the importance of blower door testing and fixing any leaks. The podcast concludes with insights on dehumidifier control strategies, the limitations of ERVs in humidity control, and the potential risks associated with uncontrolled outdoor air introduction into HVAC systems. Key topics covered in the podcast: Tim De Stasio's background and transition to HVAC consulting and training The importance of supplementary dehumidification in various climates Selecting and sizing dehumidifiers based on peak latent load and real-world performance The impact of static pressure on dehumidifier output capacity The necessity of addressing envelope and ductwork issues before installing dehumidifiers Strategies for controlling dehumidifiers in conjunction with AC systems Myths about dehumidification, including misconceptions about variable speed equipment and ERVs The potential risks of uncontrolled outdoor air introduction and the importance of proper ventilation strategies Resources for learning more about dehumidification and HVAC best practices   Contact Tim at [email protected] or follow him on LinkedIn HERE. You can also follow David Schurk on LinkedIn HERE. Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
7/4/202451 minutes, 4 seconds
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Teaching Communication Confidence - Short #200

In this short podcast episode, Bryan shares some strategies for teaching communication confidence, which may come in handy if you have newer techs who feel nervous or struggle to communicate with other people. The main way to build confidence is to get them to talk in the first place. Scripts and roleplay scenarios during training can help get people used to speaking and give them a reference. Whether we're in sales or not, we have to share information and complete business transactions. Roleplaying those conversations in a controlled, familiar setting allows your more timid team members to put in the reps. The youngest generation in the workforce tends to be exceptionally uncomfortable talking compared to others; they often prefer to communicate via text. These techs can learn a lot from spending time with customer service representatives (CSRs), especially in difficult situations with upset clients. Then, you can address the non-verbal cues that also play a massive role in in-person communication. At Kalos, we have developed software that allows people to record voice memos that are then transcribed. We combine this with soft skills training to help build confidence in our team members so that our leaders can understand what their teams are doing. Communication also starts at the top, so leaders must be honest with themselves about their communication skills and how well they regulate emotions and positively convey information. Leaders are also ultimately the ones who are responsible for understanding their team's communication gaps and creating the guidelines.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
7/2/20247 minutes, 9 seconds
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Using Refrigerant Troubleshooting Charts w/ Joey Henderson

This episode focuses on understanding and effectively utilizing various refrigeration system charts and measurements for troubleshooting and diagnostics. Joey Henderson, an HVAC veteran and trainer, shares his wealth of knowledge and experience on this topic. Joey starts by discussing the challenges he faced early in his career when trying to make sense of the confusing charts with arrows indicating high, low, high head, low head, etc. He emphasizes the importance of knowing the "supposed to be" values before attempting any measurements or referencing charts. Without this baseline understanding, the measurements become meaningless. He then delves into specific measurements like subcooling, superheat, evaporator temperature/suction saturation, condenser split, and compressor amperage. For each measurement, Joey explains the ideal range, how to interpret deviations, and how different factors like humidity, airflow, and refrigerant type can affect these values. He also highlights the differences in approaches for fixed metering devices versus TXV/EEV systems. Topics covered in the podcast: Understanding refrigeration system charts and their limitations Importance of knowing "supposed to be" values for meaningful diagnostics Measuring and interpreting subcooling Measuring and interpreting superheat Determining evaporator temperature/suction saturation Calculating and understanding condenser split Evaluating compressor amperage Differences in charging fixed metering devices vs. TXV/EEV systems Impact of humidity, airflow, and refrigerant type on measurements Using psychrometers and measuring wet bulb temperatures accurately Calculating and interpreting Delta T (wet bulb/dry bulb split) Resources like the Efficient Comfort website and Dick Wirz's RefTech app   Check out some of the resources discussed at https://efficientcomfort.net/. Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.  
6/27/202455 minutes, 44 seconds
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Wiring in Condenser Fan Motors - Short #199

In this short episode, Bryan talks about wiring in condenser fan motors, including aftermarket motor considerations and the different wire configurations. When condensing fan motors fail, we need to know what to use to replace them. We often use PSC motors, though in cases when we replace a motor with an ECM, we still need to match the horsepower despite the increased flexibility. The motors we typically keep on our truck are 1/3 or 1/6 HP motors.  Frame size (diameter) and depth also come into play; you may encounter a 42-frame motor or a 48-frame motor. You can't replace an 825 RPM motor with a 1075 RPM one because the poles are different (6-pole vs. 8-pole). Single-phase 208/230v will be the most common motors in residential systems, and the phase and voltage must match. You should also know how to reverse a motor if it is reversible. The bearing type will have some tradeoffs; ball bearings last longer but are louder than sleeve bearings.  3-wire and 4-wire condensing fan motors are essentially the same; the white wire and brown-and-white wire are essentially the same, as there is a jumper inside the motor. You can connect a 4-wire condenser to both sides of the capacitor; in any case, follow the wiring diagram. When mounting a motor, make sure the wires are strapped properly. Then, remember to unplug the correct weep ports (opposite side of the shaft) to allow condensate to drain out.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/25/202415 minutes, 4 seconds
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Committing to HVACR Education w/ Copeland

This podcast episode focuses on the critical shortage of HVACR technicians and installers across the industry. The hosts discuss the massive gap that exists, with estimates of nearly 200,000 open roles expected in the next few years. They are joined by Lenny Diaddario from Copeland's contractor services department and Chris Harris from the educational nonprofit National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). Lenny and Chris explain the various initiatives Copeland and NC3 have undertaken to help attract more people to the HVACR trades. This includes STEM education outreach to get kids interested from an early age, partnerships with organizations like SkillsUSA and PHCC, virtual reality training tools that allow interactive compressor teardowns, and comprehensive certification curricula developed in collaboration with subject matter experts and instructors. One major program they highlight is the "train the trainer" events where instructors from trade schools can get certified on the Copeland curriculum over an intensive week. They then take that knowledge back to their schools to teach and certify students as Copeland technicians. The goal is to build a strong foundational workforce of certified HVACR professionals. Topics covered include: The severe shortage of HVACR technicians and the need to fill roles Changing the stigma around vocational education and trade schools Appeal of trades to younger generations for self-reliance Copeland's initiatives like STEM days, SkillsUSA, virtual reality trainers NC3's certification curricula and "train the trainer" instructor events Copeland's online/mobile training resources like apps and AI assistant In-person training courses offered ranging from 1 day to multi-day The long-term vision for socioeconomic impact through a skilled trades workforce   Browse some of Copeland's training opportunities at https://www.copeland.com/en-us/training-support/hvacr-training.  Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/22/202429 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Chemistry of Combustion w/ Rachel Kaiser

In this episode of the HVAC School Podcast, Brian interviews Rachel Kaiser, a chemist with a passion for making science more accessible and understandable, especially when it comes to the topic of combustion. Rachel shares her background of how her family's restaurant business sparked her early interest in chemistry and the science behind mixing ingredients to produce desired results. Rachel dives deep into explaining the fundamental chemistry behind the combustion process. She breaks down the three key components required for combustion to occur - fuel, oxygen, and a heat source - and how the ideal chemical reaction is represented. However, she emphasizes that in the real world, factors like using natural gas (a mixture of gases) as fuel instead of pure methane and air (also a mixture) as the oxygen source lead to incomplete and imperfect combustion reactions. The discussion highlights the importance of combustion analysis and monitoring for byproducts like carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Rachel stresses that testing is crucial not just for technician safety but to ensure proper combustion for occupants as well. High CO levels, for instance, indicate incomplete combustion and the likely presence of other undesirable compounds. Topics covered include: The chemistry definition of combustion/flame Ideal vs real-world combustion reactions The three requirements for combustion Natural gas as a fuel mixture Air as the oxygen source and mixing considerations Carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides as byproducts The role of combustion analysis Using visuals/experiments to teach combustion chemistry Applying chemistry knowledge for troubleshooting   Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn and ask her more about chemistry in HVAC HERE. You can also view her presentation from the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium and/or purchase your virtual ticket to all sessions HERE. Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/20/202438 minutes, 30 seconds
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Hoses / Types and Applications w/ NAVAC - Short #198

In this short episode of the HVAC School podcast, Bryan talks about hoses and their various types and applications, particularly focusing on NAVAC hoses. Charging hoses (NAVAC: NH5 and NH5L) ideally shouldn't be longer than 5-6 feet, as the longer the hose, the more refrigerant it will hold. Manifold gauges also have leak points, so it's usually better to use probes instead of manifolds to help with charging. Charging hoses with ball valves (NH5S and NH5SC) can help you control the flow and are great for recovery. Whenever you use charging hoses, they will have a core depressor on one side only (usually the 45-degree side, if applicable); the right amount should be exposed, and the seal should be in good shape. Larger-diameter hoses with higher burst pressure are advantageous for recovery (though it's better to have separate hoses for recovery and evacuation). Larger-diameter hoses of a shorter length will allow you to get a higher flow rate, including cases where you have 1/4" connectors (though the F1028 & F1029  Rapid Y connection fittings can help out with those cases where you have 1/4" connectors by giving you the ability to connect two 3/8" hoses); hoses with a diameter of 3/8" are usually the biggest recommended ones for recovery. NAVAC's recovery hoses are the NHR38AA and NHR38AB. Evacuation hoses are even bigger. Some good evacuation hoses include the NH34AB and NH34AC; they are short 3/4" hoses that are vacuum-rated and quite flexible. NAVAC also has smaller hoses, which tend to look more like recovery hoses. You do not want to use 1/4" hoses and core depressors for evacuation, but they are good for charging.   Check out all of the hoses NAVAC has to offer at https://navacglobal.com/products-by-category/hoses-kits/.  Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium25. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/18/202416 minutes, 46 seconds
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Have Fun With CRAC (Computer Room AC)

In this episode of the HVAC School podcast, Bryan interviews Pat Ward, an HVAC technician who specializes in servicing and maintaining computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units for data centers. They dive deep into the unique challenges and setups involved in cooling these critical facilities. Pat provides an overview of data centers, explaining that they are essentially industrial-scale computer rooms that generate immense amounts of heat from the servers and need precise environmental controls. CRAC units are specialized air conditioning systems designed to maintain the temperature and humidity within tight parameters suitable for electronic equipment. Unlike typical comfort cooling, CRAC units supply air around 70°F to avoid excessive dehumidification. Humidity control is crucial, often requiring supplemental humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Pat discusses common configurations like air-cooled direct expansion (DX) units as well as chilled water systems with computer room air handlers (CRAHs). Redundancy is a major consideration, with units networked together to stage capacity and provide backup. The conversation covers many other topics related to data center cooling such as: Using economizers and free cooling with outdoor air when conditions allow Potential issues with mildly flammable refrigerants in these applications Typical maintenance tasks like coil cleaning, filter changes, and refrigerant checks Accessing and navigating the control systems which often require passwords Advice for technicians new to working on CRAC units, like studying the equipment layout The massive scale of large data center installations with arrays of 20+ CRAC units Causes of overheating and how to avoid them Growth opportunities in the CRAC niche of HVAC   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/13/202451 minutes, 53 seconds
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Rack Refrigeration Class Part 2

In Part 2 of the Rack Refrigeration Class at Kalos Services, Matthew Taylor discusses safeties, service, and more. Part 1 focuses more on the basic refrigeration circuit of a rack refrigeration system. When safeties are piped together, we have to keep in mind that they're a bit more complex than most HVAC refrigeration systems, especially when it comes to the oil side. All of these safeties and their proper installation can be located on the wiring diagrams. Safeties often respond to pressure, both in the refrigerant circuit and the oil circuit, but they may also respond to amperage or temperature. Each compressor on a rack has its own safety controls, but all compressor safeties should be wired in series. Overloads may measure temperature or amperage and break the circuit if it detects unsafe conditions. We also deploy demand cooling strategies to cool the compressor and help control compression ratios. We can also control capacity with staging strategies. Mechanical controls may be able to communicate with electronic controllers, but these cases are less common in conventional rack systems.  Matthew also covers: Pop-offs and high-pressure switches Overloads and misdiagnosed compressor failures Sentronic oil pressure controls Mechanical and electronic controls Adjusting metering devices Liquid and vapor injection Subcooling and interstage cooling Suction filters and when to use them Service valves, hoses, and depressing Schrader cores for checking charge Restrictions in the refrigerant circuit Accumulators Pressure transducers and troubleshooting Mechanical and electronic time delays Bypassing safeties in mission-critical applications Compressor staging and unloaders   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/11/20241 hour, 37 minutes, 7 seconds
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What's your summer triage strategy w/ Kevin Hart

This episode dives into an interesting and pragmatic discussion about how HVAC contractors can better balance their workload throughout the year. Kevin from Haven shares insights from observing HVAC businesses across the country and how some are taking a more strategic approach to triaging work. The main idea is to get systems up and running in the peak summer months when demand is highest, while also collecting data and making notes for more in-depth commissioning, ductwork upgrades, IAQ improvements, etc. that can be tackled in the fall "shoulder season." The hosts discuss the market forces that drive the typical reactive cycle - consumers waiting until systems fail to call for service, companies prioritizing new equipment installs when demand is high to boost revenue, etc. However, they propose a model where contractors are more proactive about maintenance, communication, and expectation-setting. Install the right-sized equipment over the summer, document issues to revisit later, use data loggers to analyze system performance, and then circle back in fall/winter for comprehensive commissioning when there is more availability. This allows delivering better quality work while smoothing workload across more months. The episode covers several key points and considerations, including: Prioritizing load calculation and properly sizing equipment upfront Deploying IAQ monitors to identify issues like humidity control Offering full-scope solutions and letting customers decline unneeded services Shifting technician roles seasonally between installs and commissioning Developing standard workflows and checklists for each phase Potential business benefits like retention by providing growth opportunities Overall, it presents a balanced, practical approach for HVAC businesses to improve quality, reduce stress during peak seasons, and keep technicians engaged through varied work. As Kevin notes, it's a model more contractors could adopt with training and open-sourced best practices.   If you are interested in the workflows discussed in the podcast, you can become a HAVEN pro today at https://pro.haveniaq.com/. You can also email Bryan about summer triage strategies at [email protected].   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/7/202440 minutes, 35 seconds
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Toasters, Desk Chairs and Socrates w/ Ty Brannaman

In this insightful episode of the HVAC School Podcast, Ty Brannaman, an exceptional educator and trainer, shares his unique approach to making learning not just effective but also engaging and memorable. He delves into the art of connecting with students, unlocking their curiosity, and fostering a love for learning. Ty emphasizes the importance of understanding that not all students learn in the same way. He advocates for finding creative ways to capture their attention and spark their interest, whether through hands-on experiments, relatable analogies, or thought-provoking demonstrations. By tapping into students' existing experiences and curiosities, Ty creates an environment where learning becomes an exciting adventure rather than a chore. One of the key takeaways from the conversation is the power of the Socratic method. Ty encourages educators to ask questions that challenge students' assumptions and encourage them to think critically about the subject matter. By fostering a sense of exploration and discovery, students become active participants in their own learning process, leading to deeper understanding and retention. Topics Covered: ·        Igniting curiosity and making learning engaging ·        Utilizing everyday objects and relatable analogies to explain complex concepts ·        The Socratic method: Encouraging critical thinking through questioning ·        Creating emotional connections through humor, surprise, and joy ·        Overcoming frustrations and challenges in the teaching process ·        Building a supportive community of educators and learners ·        Embracing mistakes and seeing them as opportunities for growth ·        Finding creative ways to connect with different learning styles ·        The importance of patience and perseverance in the teaching journey Overall, this podcast episode offers valuable insights for educators, trainers, and anyone passionate about fostering a love for learning. Ty's infectious enthusiasm and creative approach serve as a reminder that education can be a transformative and rewarding experience when approached with empathy, creativity, and a genuine desire to ignite the spark of curiosity in every learner.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your tickets or learn more about the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/6/202451 minutes, 16 seconds
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Rack Refrigeration Class Part 1

This podcast episode is Part 1 of a Kalos class on rack refrigeration given by Matthew Taylor. This first segment focuses on the basic refrigerant circuit and oil management of a parallel rack system, common in market refrigeration. Parallel racks follow the same general process as any other compression refrigeration system. However, they contain multiple compressors on a single rack. These systems have multiple suction lines that tie into one single suction header that feeds into multiple compressors. The suction side of the piping is usually a long distance with varying elevations; risers are vertical stretches of piping that carry oil and refrigerant up and pose a challenge for oil return. The compressor takes low-pressure vapor on the suction side and turns it into high-pressure vapor on the discharge side. From there, the condenser rejects heat from the refrigerant, which brings the superheated vapor down to saturation temperature and further rejects heat to make the refrigerant fully liquid (subcooled). Metering devices drop the pressure of the refrigerant, and the cases contain evaporators that absorb heat and boil off refrigerant, which travels to the compressors via the suction lines. Parallel racks come in multiple varieties, but the ones in this podcast are of the direct expansion (DX) variety. Saturation remains a critical principle in these systems: superheat, subcooling, and the pressure-temperature relationship all drive system operation.  Matthew also covers: Different types of rack refrigeration systems Customized variations between racks  Looking up case information and reading legends Oil return and controlling velocity Mechanical subcooling Full load amps (FLA) and locked rotor amps (LRA) Temperature glide: dew point, bubble point, and midpoint EPR installation Evaporator efficiency and superheat Compressor types Compression ratio and liquid or vapor injection Oil management components and controls   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
6/4/20241 hour, 39 minutes, 23 seconds
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What is Standard 310? w/ Eric Kaiser & Chris Hughes

Standard 310 is a technical workflow created by ACCA, ResNet, and ANSI for grading the installation of HVAC systems, typically in new home construction. It plays a crucial role in obtaining Energy Star certification, which can qualify homeowners for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. The five steps of Standard 310 are design review, duct leakage test, total system airflow, blower fan watt draw, and refrigerant charge verification. In this podcast episode, host Bryan Orr is joined by guests Chris Hughes and Eric Kaiser to discuss Standard 310 and its implications for HVAC contractors. The standard aims to ensure that HVAC systems are installed correctly and operate as designed. The process involves a third-party HERS rater conducting various tests and measurements, which contractors need to be prepared for. Proper duct sealing, airflow settings, and refrigerant charging are critical for passing the assessments. One of the challenging aspects highlighted is the refrigerant charge verification step. The standard requires either non-invasive testing (which has temperature limitations) or weigh-in verification with geotagged photos. Chris Hughes suggests manufacturers could develop more consistent commissioning protocols to streamline this process. Topics covered in the podcast: Overview of Standard 310 and its five steps Importance for Energy Star certification and tax credits Role of HERS raters and HVAC contractors Duct leakage testing and proper sealing Airflow measurement methods Blower fan watt draw challenges Refrigerant charge verification options Need for consistent commissioning protocols Coordination and documentation required Future improvements to the standard   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/30/20241 hour, 10 seconds
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Q&A - Kitchen Exhaust and Makeup Air - Short #197

In this short Q&A podcast episode, Bryan answers Gunther's question about kitchen exhaust and makeup air. Gunther asked if there were any studies that showed that makeup air should come very close to the hood to avoid infiltration. He also asked how to educate others who push back against the idea, particularly in kitchen exhaust systems of around 600 CFM. Commercial facilities, especially restaurants, bring in makeup air to balance out the air being exhausted. There are costs associated with makeup air, but there are plenty of valid reasons to add it to residential structures. Being able to control the makeup air allows us to control where we bring air in from (especially when it comes to drawing in humid air or dirty attic air from gaps and cracks, particularly in vented attics). Open-combustion appliances in the building envelope are also prone to backdrafting if the structure is under negative pressure. The structure is also more likely to have its dryer vents experience leaks under negative pressure.  The International Residential Code (IRC) (section M1503.6.2) requires makeup air when you have an exhaust system >400 CFM. The Florida Residential Code (section M1503.4) requires kitchen exhaust systems exceeding 400 CFM to have makeup air at approximately the same rate as the exhaust rate. Furthermore, the Florida Mechanical Code (section 505.2) specifies that kitchen exhaust systems exceeding 400 CFM must have makeup air to balance the air pressure and ensure proper ventilation.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/28/20247 minutes, 23 seconds
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Duct Leaks - Measuring, Preventing & Repairing w/ Sam Myers

This episode featured Bryan Orr interviewing Sam Myers, the building science consultant at Retrotec. Retrotec manufactures products like blower doors and duct testers for measuring air tightness and leakage in buildings. Sam discussed his role at Retrotec, which involves training contractors on using their tools properly, product design, software testing, presenting at conferences, and running trade show booths. He talked about the demanding travel schedule this requires but also the rewards of educating the industry. The main topic was duct leakage testing - why it's important, how it's done, interpreting the results, and investigating and fixing duct leaks when problems are found. Sam explained that while a duct leakage test provides a number, that number alone doesn't indicate if the leakage is acceptable or problematic. However, it points technicians in the right direction for further investigating issues like comfort problems, indoor air quality concerns, or high energy bills. He provided tips on using tools like smoke tests and thermal cameras to visually identify leaks, checking common leak areas like connections and return duct penetrations, and the value of testing before and after making repairs to verify the work. Sam also discussed using low-cost manometers for other tests, like checking room pressure imbalances caused by duct leaks. Topics covered included: Sam's role and work at Retrotec The importance of duct leakage testing How duct leakage tests are performed Interpreting duct leakage test results Common duct leak sources like connections and return penetrations Methods for pinpointing and verifying duct leaks Using manometers for other diagnostic tests Tips for contractors getting started with duct testing   Learn more about Retrotec's resources at https://retrotec.com/.  Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/23/202442 minutes, 59 seconds
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Q&A - RTU Tips - Short #196

In this short Q&A podcast episode, Bryan answers Jeremy's question about checking the charge on rooftop units, and he gives some RTU tips. Rooftop units often come in sets, so you can use a thermal camera to look at all of the RTUs and compare them. A thermal imaging camera may even show you where subcooling begins in the condenser, which can be a useful diagnostic hack. Try to avoid hooking up gauges each time you check the charge on a rooftop; RTUs have a fixed factory charge, and losses from your gauges can add up over time. Your senses will also come in handy; check for odd sights, sounds, and smells. Checking suction pressure and superheat is less risky and imperfect, but it'll give you some diagnostic data. You can also check discharge temperatures to check for signs of compressor overheating (remember: 225 stay alive).  Here are some tips for RTUs: Get familiar with the service manual and wiring diagrams; these items will help you with the job and help you build on your knowledge of RTUs in general. Make sure you have all of your materials at the ready, including extra screws. Make sure you have access to the BAS system, if necessary. Safety is critical on rooftop units, especially when it comes to ladders, lockout/tagout, and ensuring that you have safe access to the unit (this burden is often on the client).  Pay attention to specialized equipment, including ERVs and economizers. Be mindful of curb installation, transformer taps, and phase monitoring, as those items may not be set up properly. Build up a basic working knowledge of variable frequency drives or VFDs (or know where to find information about them; THIS livestream is a good start), Keep systems clean to prevent overheating. Prevent oil logging whenever you have to replace a compressor.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/21/202415 minutes, 17 seconds
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Practical Loads, Ducts and Sales w/ Brynn Cooksey

This episode features an insightful conversation with Brynn Cooksey, an experienced HVAC contractor and trainer from Southeast Michigan. Brynn shares his expertise in conducting proper load calculations, sizing the equipment correctly, improving duct design, and addressing common issues contractors face. Brynn emphasizes the importance of performing accurate load calculations, especially in older housing stock where equipment is frequently oversized by 50% or more. He discusses how oversized equipment leads to short cycling, poor efficiency, and increased utility costs for homeowners. His approach involves educating customers by involving them in the measurement process and using metrics like "duct deficiency" to demonstrate the inefficiencies of their current systems. The discussion then shifts to heat pumps and the unique challenges of implementing them in cold climates like Michigan. Brynn advocates for a "dual fuel" approach, utilizing heat pumps for efficiency while supplementing with gas heat during extremely cold temperatures. He stresses the necessity of a tight, well-insulated thermal envelope and proper duct design to ensure optimal heat pump performance. Topics covered include: Conducting blower door tests for accurate load calculations Downsizing equipment and solving duct issues in retrofit applications The "duct deficiency" metric for demonstrating system inefficiencies Aeroseal duct sealing: benefits, limitations, and proper application Identifying and addressing cracked heat exchangers due to airflow issues Training sales teams on a hands-on, educational sales process The importance of building science education for contractors Overcoming hesitancy in trusting load calculation results Brynn encourages contractors to embrace building science principles, trust the load calculation process, and focus on system design rather than simply swapping out equipment. By proving these methods to themselves, contractors can transform their businesses and deliver true value to customers through improved comfort, efficiency, and cost savings.   Learn more about HVAC U and its course offerings at https://www.hvactrain.com/.  Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/16/202439 minutes, 17 seconds
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Q&A - Starting an Internal Training Program - Short #195

In this short Q&A episode, Bryan answers podcast listener Cooper's question about starting an internal training program. Eugene Silberstein has been on the podcast before to offer his perspective on this topic, which you can listen to HERE.  Bryan recommends a combination approach: instructor-led, hands-on, and self-paced learning, all deployed together. Hands-on learning often gets missed, and we can give inexperienced techs experience with some basic troubleshooting tasks or breaking down and reassembling things. The Socratic method can also be employed here; the instructor can ask their trainees questions instead of the other way around. When the instructor is the one who asks the questions, they allow their trainees to be wrong, learn from their mistakes, and make their own connections to the fundamentals. Learning plans and curriculums are great for giving trainees a structure, but they need to be reinforced with the hands-on component in this trade. When determining what to teach, try to focus on what's most important in your market—the first area of effectiveness—and then understand how to reinforce it. The continuous growth mindset is also critical; the apprenticeship phase is never truly over, and the instructor needs to be able to improve their program over time without letting the idea of unattainable perfection discourage them from giving their training.   You may also read our tech tip about setting up an internal training program and our recent SkillCat guide if you want to deploy training in your business. The ESCO All Access Subscription Bundle for the HVACR Learning Network is another excellent resource. Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/14/20249 minutes, 41 seconds
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Bryan Orr - Humility in Thought Leadership

This podcast episode is Bryan Orr's presentation at the 6th Annual HVACR Training Symposium: "Humility in Thought Leadership." Bryan reflects on his own journey as a trades educator, business owner, husband, and father, sharing personal anecdotes and insights that resonate with anyone in a position of influence. Bryan begins by acknowledging the challenge of maintaining humility in the face of success and recognition. He emphasizes the need to continually shift our focus from a mindset of "deserving" to one of "serving" others. By embracing humility, we not only become more effective leaders but also create an environment where those around us can grow and thrive. Throughout the episode, Bryan encourages listeners to embrace vulnerability and be open to feedback from those who care about them. He stresses the importance of surrounding oneself with people who are willing to hold you accountable and challenge you when necessary. This accountability, he argues, is crucial for personal growth and maintaining a grounded perspective. Here are some of the key topics covered in the symposium presentation: The importance of empathy and understanding others' perspectives The distinction between personal humility and professional pride The dangers of ego and how it can disconnect us from reality The role of introspection in fostering humility and self-awareness The impact of how we process memories on our perception of reality The need to listen to those actively working in the field and remain connected to practical realities The value of being open to constructive criticism and admitting when we're wrong The joy of seeing others grow beyond us and the importance of letting go of the need for control   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/9/202458 minutes, 14 seconds
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Q&A - Tech to Service Manager Tips - Short #194

This short podcast is a Q&A based on a question submitted to us by Andy Holt. Bryan gives some tips on how to go from service tech to service manager. Service managers may have better pay, but they also have different sources of stress than service technicians, and not all service tech skills will translate well to management. Service techs and service managers have completely different skill sets, and they have to be able to gain satisfaction from different sources. Service techs are satisfied by solving problems, and they get immediate dopamine hits whenever they use their brains and hands to fix someone's AC. Service managers have to find satisfaction in big wins for their team. Service managers have to manage processes and procedures around customer service; they are involved with customer service representatives and dispatchers. They also handle the most difficult clients and situations, so they need to be able to resolve conflict and stay calm in tense situations. Good service managers also learn to share wins with their teams and speak publicly so that they can inspire and motivate their teams. Service managers also manage finances, review reports, and send emails, so they need the skills necessary to do that, including writing skills (or technology to assist with writing skills). Leadership roles also require you to represent the policies and procedures of your organization, regardless of how you feel about them. These requirements may put a strain on interpersonal relationships.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/7/202412 minutes, 48 seconds
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LIVE From the ACCA Conference 2024

This episode was recorded live on location at the 2024 ACCA conference in Orlando. Bryan starts by interviewing Marissa, a co-founder of Conduit Tech, a software company providing load calculation and sales tools for HVAC contractors. Marissa shares insights into what it takes for contractors to successfully adopt new technology in their businesses. She emphasizes the importance of having support at multiple levels of the company, a willingness to thoroughly learn the new software, and providing feedback to the developers. Marissa stresses that Conduit actively seeks input from contractors to continue improving their product's workflow integration. Learn more about Conduit Tech at https://getconduit.com/.  In the second segment, Bryan talks to Martin Hoover, the incoming chair of ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America). Martin discusses the value ACCA provides through training, advocacy, and facilitating peer group interactions. He highlights how ACCA conferences allow contractors to learn from industry leaders and gain valuable perspectives in the hallways between sessions. The episode covers a range of topics relevant to HVAC contractors, including: Adopting new technology and providing productive feedback to software developers Assessing whether a new product will truly transform your workflow based on customer testimonials The benefits of joining ACCA, such as training, advocacy, and peer networking opportunities Challenges facing the industry, like labor shortages and rising costs The importance of understanding your financials and pricing for future costs Preparing for the transition to A2L refrigerants and associated changes Whether you're a contractor looking to improve your business or a technician striving for success, this episode offers valuable insights from industry experts on leveraging resources, adopting new tools, and positioning yourself for the future of HVAC.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Purchase your virtual tickets for the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24.  Subscribe to our podcast on your iPhone or Android.   Subscribe to our YouTube channel  Check out our handy calculators here or on the HVAC School Mobile App for Apple and Android.
5/2/202428 minutes, 49 seconds
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Positive Productive Client Communication

In this insightful podcast episode, the host delves into the crucial aspects of positive and productive client communication, drawing from his extensive experience in the residential air conditioning industry. He emphasizes the importance of setting the right tone, bringing energy, building trust, and adapting to different customer personalities when interacting with clients. The host highlights the key elements of positive communication, such as maintaining a consistently upbeat and enthusiastic demeanor, while also being mindful of the client's preferences. He stresses the importance of active listening, to truly understand the customer's needs and concerns, rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak. The host also touches on the challenges of dealing with difficult customers, such as those who are overly focused on price or technical details, and provides strategies for navigating these situations with patience and professionalism. The discussion then shifts to the productive side of client communication, emphasizing the importance of being clear, precise, and solution-oriented. The host delves into the pitfalls of being a "yes-man" and making promises that are difficult to follow through on, and instead encourages a more assertive and responsible approach. He emphasizes the need to take ownership of one's words and actions, ensuring that any commitments made to the client are followed through with diligence and care. The podcast also touches on the significance of situational awareness, wherein the host encourages technicians and salespeople to adapt their communication style based on the client's background and personality. Whether it's an aerospace engineer, a computer programmer, or a contractor, the host provides insights into how to tailor your approach to best serve each individual client. Key Topics Covered: Positive communication: Setting the tone, bringing energy, building trust, and adapting to customer personalities Productive communication: Importance of being clear, precise, and solution-oriented Avoiding the "yes-man" trap and taking responsibility for one's words and actions Situational awareness: Adapting communication style based on client background and personality Dealing with difficult customers and navigating challenging conversations The value of honesty and truthfulness in client interactions Importance of initial conversations and following up on commitments made to clients Balancing empathy and professionalism when addressing clients' personal issues or concerns By addressing these critical aspects of client communication, the podcast provides invaluable insights for professionals in the HVAC industry and beyond, highlighting the key strategies for fostering positive and productive relationships with customers. Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/30/202433 minutes, 37 seconds
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Condensate Drains Install & Service

Roman Baugh, Matthew Condron, and Luke Peterson discuss the importance of proper condensate drain installation and maintenance, particularly in commercial applications. The conversation begins with the hosts examining the typical drain configurations seen in different regional markets, highlighting the significant variations in practices across the country. Sizing and configuration of condensate drains can have a significant impact on system performance, especially in high-static pressure systems. He emphasizes that the "one-size-fits-all" approach of using a 2-inch trap is often insufficient, as the static pressure within the system can overcome the trap's ability to prevent air from being sucked into the drain line. The hosts discuss the chart Roman presents, which provides guidance on selecting the appropriate trap depth based on the static pressure of the system. The discussion then delves into the challenges associated with maintaining condensate drains, including the buildup of debris and the potential for double traps or airlock issues. The hosts share their experiences and best practices for cleaning and troubleshooting drain lines, with a particular focus on the importance of understanding the system's airflow and static pressure characteristics. The conversation also touches on the use of condensate pumps, with the hosts expressing mixed opinions on their effectiveness and the potential for issues, particularly in high-humidity environments. The importance of proper insulation and support for drain lines is also highlighted, as sagging or improper installation can lead to further problems over time. Key Topics Covered: Typical drain configurations in different regional markets The impact of static pressure on condensate drain performance Proper trap sizing and depth based on system static pressure Challenges with drain line maintenance and troubleshooting The use of condensate pumps and their potential drawbacks Importance of proper insulation and support for drain lines Strategies for cleaning and maintaining condensate drains Relationship between airflow, static pressure, and drain issues Redundant protection methods, such as secondary drain pans and switches Techniques for identifying and addressing air turbulence issues   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/25/20241 hour, 53 seconds
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EEV Types - Short #193

In this short podcast episode, Bryan explains electronic expansion valve (EEV) types. EEVs perform the same function as TXVs, but they operate electronically, not mechanically. The EEV makes sure that the evaporator is full of the right amount of refrigerant at saturation; it doesn't just affect evaporator pressure. We don't want high superheat (due to inefficiency), and we don't want zero superheat (due to the risk of compressor failure). EEVs commonly have a stepper motor with a set of discrete settings depending on how many rotations the motor has made. It can be fully open or fully closed, and the number of rotations can set the valve at any value between fully open and fully closed; it's open or closed by a specific percentage. Instead of a bulb and external equalizer, a pressure transducer and temperature sensor report to the controller and give the controller the data it needs to open or close the EEV to maintain a specific superheat. Pulse-width modulation (PWM) allows an EEV to open and close rapidly. Unlike a stepper motor, PWM solenoids make an EEV stay fully open or fully closed for a specific percentage of time. It receives pressure information from a pressure transducer and temperature information from a thermistor or thermocouple.  As with a TXV, you would look at superheat and pressures to make sure the EEVs are operating correctly.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/23/20247 minutes, 33 seconds
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Heat Pump COP and Low Temp Lock Out

This episode of the HVAC School Live Stream covers the key concepts around heat pump efficiency and understanding the coefficient of performance (COP). Eric Kaiser from TruTech Tools and Jim Fultz from White-Rodgers provide valuable insights into how heat pumps operate and how to optimize their performance, especially in colder weather conditions. The discussion begins by exploring the COP of heat pumps and how it compares to the efficiency of electric resistance heat. A COP above 1 means the heat pump is delivering more heat for the same amount of energy input compared to electric resistance heat. Many homeowners mistakenly believe they should switch to emergency heat once the outdoor temperature drops, thinking the heat pump is no longer efficient. However, even at very low outdoor temperatures, a well-designed heat pump can still operate with a COP above 1, making it a more cost-effective heating option than emergency heat. The conversation then delves into the concept of the thermal balance point, which is the outdoor temperature at which the heat pump can no longer meet the heating load of the home. The guests discuss how to calculate this balance point and how to set up controls to optimize the use of the heat pump and any supplemental heating sources, such as electric resistance heat or a gas furnace in a dual-fuel system. They emphasize the importance of proper air distribution and avoiding blowing cold air directly on the occupants, which can be a common complaint with heat pumps. Key Topics Covered: Coefficient of Performance (COP) and how it compares to electric resistance heat Efficiency of heat pumps at low outdoor temperatures Thermal balance point and how to calculate it Optimizing control settings to balance heat pump and auxiliary heat usage Importance of proper air distribution and avoiding blowing cold air directly on occupants Considerations for dual-fuel systems with both a heat pump and a gas furnace Best practices for programming thermostats and control systems to ensure optimal performance and comfort   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).  
4/18/202456 minutes, 28 seconds
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Motor Protection Types - Short #192

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about motor protection types, including overloads. The most common overload we see in residential HVAC is a built-in thermal overload, which is usually a bimetallic disk that flexes in response to heat (such as from a locked condition, electrical problem, or simply running hot) and opens the circuit. The two metals have different expansion and contraction rates, which causes the flexing; they will return to their original position once the motor cools down. In some cases, these can fail when they open and close too often; they are not designed for switching duty. Many circuit breakers have a similar thermal design and may be prone to nuisance tripping in the summer. A lot of commercial motors rely on external overloads; some are even built into the electrical box rather than the compressor. These external magnetic overloads are often integrated into the contactor, which turns the motor on and off; this type of contactor is called a starter. These starters may have adjustable overload settings based on current, not just temperature (which may also respond to nuisance sources of heat and require a cooldown period). Some circuit breakers also trip magnetically and are less likely to be affected by temperature. Thermistor-based overloads usually consist of a PTC (positive temperature coefficient) resistor; as temperature goes up, resistance goes up, which can take a motor winding out of the circuit. NTCs are in separate parallel circuits with relays; as the resistance decreases, it pulls in a coil that opens the circuit.   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/16/202410 minutes, 13 seconds
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Expansion Valves - What Does and Doesn't Matter?

This podcast features a lively discussion on expansion valves, particularly thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs or TEVs), with a panel of expert guests - Corey Cruz (a market refrigeration tech), Matthew Taylor (head of refrigeration service at Kalos), and Joe Shearer (with Precision Air Conditioning). The conversation kicks off by busting some common myths surrounding expansion valves. The guests agree that minutiae like the precise clocking (rotational orientation) of the sensing bulb or whether it's mounted horizontally or vertically tend to be overemphasized. The key is ensuring good thermal contact between the bulb and refrigerant line. They dive into the operating principles of an expansion valve, explaining how it's essentially a balanced system of forces between the inlet (liquid) pressure, the outlet (suction) pressure, the pressure in the sensing bulb corresponding to superheat, and the adjustable spring force. Getting the superheat dialed in properly is crucial for efficient system operation. The experts share valuable insights on best practices like avoiding heat damage during brazing, using the right valve for the application, not adjusting the valve unnecessarily, allowing stable operation before making adjustments, and considerations like external equalizers. Real-world examples and demonstrations with failed valve components illustrate the importance of proper installation and maintenance. Topics covered include: Common expansion valve myths and overemphasized factors How an expansion valve works and the balanced forces involved Superheat, hunting, and minimum stable superheat Recommended bulb insulation practices for different applications Proper bulb mounting, clamping techniques, and thermal contact When and how to adjust the valve (or not) Effects of plugged external equalizers and pressure drops Selecting the right valve size and type (bleed vs hard shutoff) Common installation errors like reverse flow direction Troubleshooting tips for various systems and scenarios Importance of airflow, load conditions, and other system factors   Have a question that you want us to answer on the podcast? Submit your questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/11/20241 hour, 31 seconds
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Q&A - How to Learn Superheat & Subcooling - Short #191

In this short podcast episode, Bryan answers an audience member's question and explains how to learn superheat & subcooling, two fundamental aspects of the HVAC/R trade. You can submit questions of your own at https://www.speakpipe.com/hvacschool.  Saturation is when a substance is in the liquid and vapor state in the same place. Eugene Silberstein likes to help us envision it by encouraging us to think of a horizon line on the ocean; anything below it is fully liquid (subcooled, what a submarine would travel through), and anything above it is a vapor (superheated, which a flying superhero would travel through). Superheat and subcooling can tell you a bit about how the HVAC system's main components are operating. High superheat indicates that there's more vapor in the evaporator, and you're not getting as much efficiency out of your evaporator as you probably could. High subcooling indicates that you're stacking more liquid refrigerant in the condenser, which can be good for efficiency but may also reduce the area of the condenser dedicated to condensing the refrigerant. Superheat and subcooling are NOT just there to help you set the charge; they can tell you a lot about a system and its components.    Ty Branaman has a great webpage about superheat, subcooling, and saturation at https://www.love2hvac.com/saturation-superheat-subcooling. You can also visit his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@love2hvac.  Craig Migliaccio (AC Service Tech) also has an excellent book on the topic, which you can learn more about at https://www.acservicetech.com/ac-book. You can also visit his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@acservicetechchannel.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
4/9/20247 minutes, 39 seconds
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Focus of Your Goals w/ Refrigeration Mentor

In this episode of the HVAC School Podcast, Bryan Orr and Trevor Matthews delve into the importance of setting goals, focusing on them, and taking actionable steps to achieve them. They emphasize that goal-setting is crucial for personal and professional growth and that it requires introspection, prioritization, and sacrifice. Trevor shares his experience of setting a goal to buy his first house and how writing down the specifics, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, helped him achieve that goal within a few years. He stresses the need to start small, with easily achievable goals, and then gradually build up to larger, more ambitious ones. Bryan and Trevor also discuss the importance of finding your "why" – the deeper motivation behind your goals – as it provides the drive and determination to stay focused and overcome obstacles. They suggest techniques like the "five levels of why" and creating vision boards to help clarify and visualize your goals. Here are some key topics covered in the podcast: ·        The importance of assessing what you truly want and setting clear goals ·        Techniques for finding your "why" and staying motivated ·        Prioritizing tasks and managing distractions to maintain focus ·        Setting short-term and long-term goals, both personal and professional ·        The power of small wins and positive reinforcement ·        Investing in yourself and taking ownership of your career growth ·        Managing expectations and aligning your goals with your employer's ·        Overcoming the mindset of waiting for the "right" time to start ·        Practical strategies like scheduling, time-blocking, and budgeting to achieve financial goals Overall, the podcast encourages listeners to take control of their lives, continuously learn and grow, and make consistent progress toward their goals, no matter how small the steps may seem.   Check out Trevor's Refrigeration Mentor program at https://refrigerationmentor.com/.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/28/202444 minutes, 14 seconds
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When to Switch to Emergency Heat? - Short #190

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about when to switch to emergency heat. He talks about coefficient of performance (COP) and how it's a deciding factor when to run emergency heat, which is when a system ONLY runs the backup heat; it doesn't use it as supplementary heat. When we have a heat pump with backup electric heat, we shouldn't ever rely just on emergency heat; we want the heat pump to run. Electric heat is just designed to supplement the heat pump's heating because it's inefficient. Hybrid or dual-fuel systems can use gas or hydronic fuel-based heat, and they work well on their own (such as if the heat pump is broken). You can't usually run the fuel-based emergency heat at the same time as your heat pump, so it makes sense to run just the emergency heat if it is fuel-based. The thermal balance point is the point at which the heat pump can no longer keep up with the heating load by itself; the temperature in the space will start to drop, but the heat pump will still produce heat. The thermal balance point can give us a clue about client comfort, not efficiency. COP is a measure of efficiency, and an electric heater has a COP of 1. A heat pump with a COP above 1 saves energy (compared to using just electric heat). COP is the heat delivered in BTUs divided by the energy supplied; it's a ratio.   You can read the "Good COP - Bad COP" tech tip at https://hvacrschool.com/good-cop-bad-cop/.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/26/20247 minutes, 51 seconds
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Manual J in 15 Minutes?

Shelby Breger, co-founder of Conduit Tech, joins Bryan Orr on the HVAC School Podcast to discuss her company's innovative lidar-enabled design and sales software tool for HVAC contractors. Conduit Tech's software utilizes lidar sensors in iPads and iPhones to scan homes and create 3D models and 2D floor plans. It overlays load calculations factoring in property data, orientation, cooling/heating degree days, and building materials. This allows contractors to perform detailed load calculations on-site in just 15 minutes or less while engaging homeowners visually. Breger explains that the core goal is to empower contractors to deliver better-designed systems more efficiently while enhancing the customer experience. Homeowners get to see the level of work and customization involved, building appreciation for the contractor's services. The visuals help communicate potential comfort issues and how the proposed solution uniquely addresses their home's needs. Breger emphasizes that Conduit Tech is focused on solving fundamental industry pain points identified through continuous feedback from their contractor user base. The software has evolved to provide more flexibility to adapt to the realities of home visits. New features like augmented reality equipment visualization further enhance the customer engagement capabilities. Topics covered include: How Conduit Tech's lidar scanning and modeling works Using the software for room-by-room or whole home load calculations Integrating data sources like property records, ASHRAE design conditions, etc. Aligning with ACCA Manual J methodologies and certifications Improving load calculation accuracy through real-world monitoring Leveraging technology to streamline processes across sales, design, and installation The value proposition for contractors and homeowners Roadmap for adding features based on user feedback How contractors can get started with Conduit Tech's software   Contractors interested in trying out Conduit Tech can visit https://www.getconduit.com/, or they can email [email protected] or [email protected] to learn more and schedule a demo. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/21/202438 minutes, 47 seconds
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Combustion Venting Categories - Short #189

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about the four different combustion venting categories for gas appliances as set by ASHRAE and where you'll see them. He also shares some notes about pressurization. These categories deal with the pressurization and temperature ranges of the vents. Category 1 venting is used for old-school open-combustion gas furnaces; they have high flue gas temperatures and are considered low or mid-efficiency furnaces. This venting category is not positively pressurized, and it has a single-wall flue and operates more like chimneys, as the appliance is usually under negative pressure; a draft is created and draws the flue gas out. It's non-condensing, negative-pressure venting. Category 2 venting is not common anymore; they operate with negative pressure in the vent, and condensation is still likely. Category 3 venting is non-condensing positive-pressure venting. These are more common in older through-the-wall appliances. Category 4 venting is condensing, positive-pressure venting for high-efficiency or condensing gas appliances with lower-temperature flues and sealed combustion. PVC is the most common venting material for these furnaces. We can recover some energy from the condensation process.    Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/19/20248 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Gift of Security and Learning w/ Jennifer Manzo

In this episode of the HVAC School Podcast, host Bryan Orr speaks with Jennifer Manzo, founder of HVA-Chicks Coalition. Jennifer shares her unique background as a longtime teacher and homeschooler who stumbled into the HVAC trade while researching vocational options for her homeschooling students. They discuss the inspiration behind HVA-Chicks, a free training coalition offering technical, career, and personal support to women in HVAC. This includes customized training plans, connecting members with childcare assistance, legal support for discrimination issues, job search help, and more. Jennifer also manages a free 24/7 tech support phone line with several experienced volunteers. She explains why she dedicates endless hours to serving others in the industry at no cost - to provide the help and community she wished for when first starting out. Jennifer actively works to build women up by first offering them psychological safety and security. When women feel unconditionally cared for, they gain the internal strength and courage needed to push past obstacles in this male-dominated field.  Key topics covered: ·        Jennifer's journey from teaching to HVAC ·        Lifelong learning ·        Overview of HVA-Chicks Coalition offerings ·        Managing a free 24/7 tech support phone line ·        Motivations for serving the industry with no payment ·        Providing psychological safety/security for women technicians   You can learn more about the great resources HVA-Chicks has to offer at https://hvachicks.com/, visit Skillcat to check out the blog where Jennifer writes, and find Jennifer on social media as Hvachicks Jennifer. You may contact Jennifer by her public email at [email protected].   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/14/202436 minutes, 4 seconds
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Belt Talk - Short #188

In this short podcast episode, Bryan dives into some belt talk, including some bits about pulleys and sheaves. He also shares some belt tensioning tips for your next commercial HVAC job. Belts are less common than they used to be, but we find them in ventilation fans, RTUs, and AHUs. Squealing belts indicate slippage, which indicates fan inefficiency and energy losses. Belts transmit energy from the motor (pulley) to the fan or blower wheel being driven by it. Motor mounts may be adjustable, but there will be a means of adjusting the tension of the belt. Before we change or replace a belt, we need to make sure the belt is properly aligned (centers should have the proper distance and pitch). Common sense and good observation skills will be your best tools. Adjustable sheaves shouldn't be touched when you're changing the belt; the adjustment of the sheave is for airflow based on the RPM of the fan motor, not tensioning or setting amperage. We set belt tension by tensioning with a specific tool: a belt tensioner. Belts should be as loose as possible without slipping, but belts will loosen a bit over time and with everyday use, and they may slip eventually. Wear on the pulleys may also cause belts to slip. Cogged belts, also called notch belts, may bend more easily, last longer, and be more efficient due to reduced resistance (compared to non-cogged belts). Belt efficiency can also be affected by alignment and tightness (being too tight).   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/12/202410 minutes, 48 seconds
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Using the Roomulator w/ Chris Hughes

In this episode of the HVAC School Podcast, host Bryan Orr speaks with Chris Hughes of The Energy Conservatory (TEC) about using the Roomulator card and DG-8 manometer for room pressurization testing. Chris provides background on how he came up with the idea for the Roomulator. He wanted an easy way for technicians to properly size passive returns to relieve pressure imbalances between bedrooms and the main body of a home. The Roomulator card enables technicians to quickly measure door undercuts and size transfer ducts, grilles, etc., to reduce room pressures to 3 Pascals or less per ENERGY STAR guidelines. When paired with the DG-8 micromanometer, the system provides precision room pressurization measurement. They discuss reasons why excessive room pressures can cause comfort, efficiency, and indoor air quality issues. Removing positive pressure helps reduce airflow through leaks in exterior walls, lighting fixtures, etc. Chris also talks about how the Roomulator is an affordable “gateway tool” for technicians to get started with building science and air pressure dynamics. DG-8 allows technicians to perform several other tests beyond room pressurization as they advance their skills. Key topics covered: TrueFlow grid and DG-8 manometer Origins and purpose of the Roomulator card The step-by-step process for using Roomulator and DG-8 Impacts of room pressurization on comfort, efficiency, IAQ Role as an introductory tool for building science testing The collaboration of NCI and TEC   You can learn more about the Roomulator and purchase a few at https://store.energyconservatory.com/roomulator.html.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/7/202444 minutes, 50 seconds
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Primary & Secondary Air in Combustion - Short #187

In this short podcast, Bryan dives into a gas heating topic: primary & secondary air in combustion. Primary air is the air and oxygen content that enters the furnace BEFORE combustion. In older furnaces, prior to induced combustion, air was drawn in through the front. These older furnaces had adjustable shutters that we could modify to bring in more or less primary air based on our combustion analysis readings. We could also use flame color to get an idea of the CO content (yellow tips on the flames indicate higher carbon monoxide content). In systems like those, air is drawn in via Bernoulli's principle; there are areas of low pressure around areas of high velocity. There is pressure associated with the natural gas, which draws air into the burner. Nowadays, we have induced draft systems (not to be confused with power-vented systems) to draw air in at a fixed rate for more consistent combustion. These inducer fan blowers are necessary for the more complicated heat exchangers we see in more recent furnaces. Secondary air is the air after combustion. We only want to adjust primary air if we have the correct gas pressure, so we will want to make sure we perform combustion analysis. We can also clock the meter (if applicable), but you will not always have a meter, and you will want it to be informed by combustion analysis.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
3/5/20246 minutes, 56 seconds
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Learning Outside the Box (Live Rebroadcast)

This podcast episode is a live rebroadcast of a livestream with Craig Migliaccio (AC Service Tech) and Ty Branaman (love2hvac). It focuses on different types of learning and how to make the most out of learning experiences. The hosts discuss the differences between random learning, goal-driven learning, and forced learning. Random learning involves casually exposing yourself to new information without a specific end goal. It can be useful for sparking curiosity. Goal-driven learning is focused on achieving mastery of a particular topic in order to solve a problem or accomplish something concrete. This type of learning requires effort but tends to be the most effective. Forced learning is when someone else compels you to learn certain material, often for compliance reasons; this type lacks intrinsic motivation. They emphasize surrounding yourself with a community of curious people who can provide encouragement, accountability, and inspiration. Events like the HVACR Symposium and AHR Expo facilitate making these connections. Building personal relationships and enjoying the humanity in the field sustains interest and passion. Key topics covered: The role of books, podcasts, conferences, and interpersonal interactions in learning Differences between propositional, procedural, perspectival, and participatory knowledge Using the Socratic teaching method of asking leading questions Understanding real-world applications of Ohm's Law Distinctions between random, goal-driven, and forced learning Finding joy and connection through education and community Networking with people across the industry at trade events   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/29/20241 hour, 45 seconds
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Making Family Business Work w/ Leilani Orr

In this podcast episode, Bryan has an enjoyable conversation with his wife Leilani about navigating family relationships while building a business. They discuss the challenges and benefits of mixing family and work, setting boundaries, and maintaining perspective. Bryan starts by admitting he felt intimidated to have Leilani on the podcast before, joking about her “big muscles and dominating presence.” Leilani jokes back, saying Bryan seems less intimidated now that they’ve been together so long. They then dive into the topic of starting their family business, Kalos, back in 2005. Leilani remembers feeling excited but also some “pain” around Bryan turning down a big raise to go out on his own instead. She was impressed he felt so confident to leave the security of a paycheck, which made her believe Kalos would succeed. However, as a young couple they were already not making much money, so the pay cut hurt. Other topics they discuss: Holding morning meetings with employees in their small home when Kalos was just starting out The awkwardness Leilani felt sometimes hearing family members complain about each other or the business How they’ve generally had good boundaries between family issues and personal relationships Funny stories about occasionally discussing business at improper times around non-family friends Taking on jobs outside Bryan's wheelhouse (like painting) in the early days out of necessity The importance of being willing to do work others may see as "below them" to make a small business succeed How Bryan easily gets bored doing repetitive tasks, and prefers to delegate Leilani's appreciation that Bryan respects her contributions to the family and doesn't compete with her for time The need for humility and perspective when running a family business   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/22/202435 minutes, 21 seconds
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Heat Pump Basics in Plain Language

In this solo podcast, Bryan provides an introduction to heat pumps, explaining the basics of how they work and key considerations in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. He starts by reviewing some core HVAC principles - that heat moves from higher temperatures to lower temperatures, the three main methods of heat transfer, and the concept that temperature is really just a measure of molecular movement. He then explains that a heat pump works by taking heat from a place that doesn't matter, like the outdoors, and putting it where it is wanted, like inside a home. This is the opposite of an air conditioner. The only difference in the actual equipment is the addition of a reversing valve to change the direction of refrigerant flow and a defrost control board. He talks about the need to defrost the outdoor coil when ice builds up and what happens in that mode. Some key challenges and design considerations he covers when using heat pumps include: dealing with defrost and where the melt water will go, keeping the outdoor unit free of snow, supplemental heating systems for when the unit can't keep up, increased electrical load, and factors like the climate zone, home efficiency, electricity prices, and infrastructure. He emphasizes that with good design focused around heat pumps, they can work efficiently even in cold climates. Topics covered: ·        Basics of heat transfer ·        How heat pumps move heat ·        Reversing valve and defrost board ·        Defrost challenges ·        Supplemental heat ·        Sizing and design considerations ·        Use in cold climates   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/15/202426 minutes, 41 seconds
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Women in HVAC (Live Rebroadcast)

This podcast brought together several women working in the HVAC industry to discuss their experiences and offer advice. The conversation focused on the positives of working in HVAC as a woman, the importance of community, and the resources available. The women talked extensively about how welcoming and supportive the HVAC community, and particularly HVAC men, have been towards them. Several got into the industry because of their husbands' work. They agreed the perception that it's difficult for women to break into HVAC does not match their largely positive realities. The biggest challenges they identified related more to things like clothing and bathroom options rather than discrimination or harassment. Advice offered for companies looking to hire more women focused not on targeting women specifically, which could cause resentment, but on ensuring good benefits, upholding anti-discrimination standards, and facilitating connections with other women in the industry. Several mentioned the value of groups like Women in HVAC and the Society of Women Engineers for networking and support. Attending conferences to connect with the HVAC community was also repeatedly recommended. Overall, the positive tone revealed that with the right connections, women can thrive in HVAC careers. All expressed passion for their work and eagerness to encourage more women to explore the industry. Topics covered: Getting into HVAC Challenges for women in HVAC Advice for attracting/supporting women Importance of community Groups like Women in HVAC Conferences/events   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/8/202452 minutes, 54 seconds
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History of AWG - Short #186

In this short podcast, Bryan explains the history of AWG, or American wire gauge, which is the sizing system we use for conductors in the United States. Wires weren't standardized before the 18th century (1700s). As fencing, telegraph, and electrical wires started coming out, there was a need for a standardized system. In England, a standardized system called the Birmingham wire gauge (BWG) was developed in the 1800s. The American Telegraph Company developed the American equivalent, the AWG, shortly afterward. These systems standardized wiring diameters, and the AWG's wire sizes get bigger as they get lower (including NOT wires, which are noted by the number 0 on the gauge, like 2/0). The AWG scale is a logarithmic scale, meaning that the wire sizes don't vary by a fixed amount; there is a 20% variation between diameter sizes. Our brains are programmed to understand proportionality (i.e., logarithmic values and patterns) better than discrete values. This sizing system based on a logarithmic scale makes it easier for us to observe differences between the diameters. The metric system for wire sizing is NOT logarithmic; there is a root-10 progression between sizes; this standard is called IEC 60228.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/6/20248 minutes, 36 seconds
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A2L Update With Chemours Live from AHR

Don Gillis and Dr. Chuck Allgood from Chemours join the show to discuss their new easy as "1,2,3" branding around the A2L refrigerants R454A, R454B, and R454C. They explain that A2Ls are not actually flammable like hydrocarbons; they are just mildly combustible with much lower burning velocity and energy than propane or butane. The key is that A2L refrigerants can only be used in equipment specifically designed and tested for them. They outline several equipment changes, like the inclusion of sensors that detect leaks and mitigate risks by shutting down systems. Service ports will be red to denote flammability. Refrigerant cylinders will move away from colors and instead use red bands/markings to signal A2L, along with left-handed threads and updated pressure relief valves. Best practices like nitrogen purging, confined space protocols, and leak repairs will become outright requirements. Tools like recovery machines and leak detectors will need A2L ratings, but most from the past 2 years likely already have them. In closing, the guests emphasize that A2Ls contain no propane or hydrocarbons and cannot be retrofitted into existing A1 equipment. Contractors should get trained, adopt the solutions coming, and not fear progress. But they should spread the word that A2Ls are not simply being dropped into old equipment. Topics Covered: Differences between A2Ls and flammable refrigerants Required safety features in A2L equipment Changes to refrigerant cylinders Updating tools and practices for A2Ls Retrofitting existing systems with A2Ls (not allowed) Spreading proper understanding about A2Ls   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
2/1/202434 minutes, 7 seconds
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What is DX? - Short #185

In this short podcast episode, Bryan tackles the following question: What is DX?  In short, DX stands for "direct expansion," which means that you cool the end product via the refrigeration cycle. We blow air over an evaporator coil, which allows the refrigerant to take up heat from the air and directly expand. Chillers, boilers, and chilled water systems are NOT direct expansion systems; they use a secondary fluid like water or glycol to move the heat throughout the structure, not an evaporator to take up heat directly. They also have heat exchangers to move heat from the refrigerant to the secondary fluid. DX systems tend to be smaller, and chillers and boilers tend to be larger. Chillers are advantageous in cases where we're working with toxic or flammable refrigerants or large refrigerant charges; we can keep the refrigerant charge away from the structure and space or product(s) needing to be heated or cooled.    Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/30/20245 minutes, 41 seconds
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Vacuum and Recovery in an A2L World with Jesse Stewart

In this podcast, Bryan Orr interviews Jesse Stewart from NAVAC about A2L refrigerants and compatible tools and safety procedures. They discuss how NAVAC has a full line of A2L-compatible tools for evacuation and recovery, including the new NR7 and upgraded models of the NRDDF and NRDD. Jesse explains key features that make tools A2L compatible, like DC motors, sparkless designs, insulated electrical terminations, soft power switches, and fans. He notes that NAVAC has been designing tools this way in preparation for wider A2L adoption. The conversation covers some evolving questions around A2L systems, like requirements for strike plates to protect line sets and whether existing line sets can still be used. They agree that ongoing questions need to be directed to organizations like ASHRAE to get definitive guidance. Overall, Jesse emphasizes that best practices are now required, not just recommended, when working with A2Ls. He details several examples, like nitrogen purging while brazing, the "10-foot rule" for checking potential ignition sources, and proper confined space protocols. Topics covered: NAVAC's line of A2L-compatible tools Key safety features for A2L tools Evolving regulations and best practices around A2L systems Using nitrogen while brazing The "10 foot rule" before A2L installations Working in confined spaces with A2Ls Adapting outdated practices to meet new safety needs   Explore NAVAC's A2L-compatible tools at https://navacglobal.com/a2l-compatible-tools/ or general products at https://navacglobal.com/. You can also ask the experts for help by emailing [email protected].    Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/24/202428 minutes, 56 seconds
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Safe Chemicals are Good Chemicals w/ Mike Pastorello

This podcast covers refrigeration technologies' growth and focus on providing safe, high-performing chemicals for HVAC technicians without hazardous ingredients. Mike Pastorello discusses the 2017 rebranding that gave their products a more modern, cohesive look. He also talks about bringing on new marketing talent like Ashley and Becca to amp up refrigeration technologies' social media presence and connect more directly with end users. Throughout, Mike emphasizes enabling the marketing experts to drive strategy rather than micromanaging. Regarding products, Mike highlights their priority of keeping technicians safe while effectively doing their jobs. He mentions constantly improving formulas to eliminate skin burns, bad odors, and other issues with traditional chemicals. Bryan shares an example from his contracting company where lax safety practices led to an emergency room visit and realigned his team's commitment to using safer alternatives like Viper products. They also overview popular refrigeration technologies offerings like Nylog thread sealant and the Venom Packs compact container system. Mike states the Venom Packs will avoid upcoming taxes on traditional gallon jugs. Bryan praises the durable, flexible packaging and smaller nozzle. Bullet points: 2017 rebrand and modernizing refrigeration technologies' visual identity Bringing on new marketing talent to expand social media reach Empowering new hires to take the lead rather than micromanaging Keeping technicians safe while effectively doing their jobs Continually improving chemical formulas to reduce hazards An emergency room visit underscoring the need for safety focus Overview of Nylog refrigerant thread sealant Benefits of the durable and flexible Venom Packs   Check out all Refrigeration Technologies products at https://www.refrigtech.com/.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/24/202424 minutes, 59 seconds
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How Better Truck Stock Makes the Trade Better w/ Jim Fultz

This live podcast from AHR Expo 2024 discusses the costs of truck rolls for HVAC technicians and how technicians and companies can reduce those costs. Jim and Bryan highlight that every time a tech has to go to the supply house to get parts, the company loses money in potential service calls that could have been completed. They emphasize stocking trucks properly so that technicians can complete repairs efficiently without leaving jobsites. Jim talks about the White Rogers 50M56X8-43 universal control board, which auto-configures itself to different furnace models. He explains how it simplifies installations and troubleshooting, allowing techs to solve problems faster. Bryan adds that having universal parts encourages techs to thoroughly diagnose issues before replacing components. They also discuss the display showing flame current in microamps, which helps techs benchmark flame rod cleanliness over time. Later, Jim stresses the importance of techs understanding all the individual components in heating systems rather than seeing units as intimidating beasts with complex wiring. Bryan shares how new controls with better interfaces and indicators help guide techs to increase their skills and knowledge. They agree that improvements allowing faster on-site repairs provide a better, more rewarding experience for both techs and customers. Throughout, Jim and Bryan sprinkle in jokes, stories, and food references while emphasizing the overarching goal of giving techs what they need to enjoy their work and provide the best service possible. Topics covered: Costs of truck rolls and supply house trips Stocking trucks for same-day repairs New universal control simplifying installations Diagnosing issues thoroughly before replacing parts Display showing useful flame current readings Understanding all components in heating systems Improved interfaces and indicators enhancing skills Faster on-site repairs benefiting techs and customers Loving your work and helping people   Check out Copeland's trusted products and brands at https://copeland.com. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/24/202447 minutes, 34 seconds
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The VCRT Redesigned + More w/ Fieldpiece

In this podcast, Bryan chats with Tony Gonzalez of Fieldpiece about their latest innovations for service tools, including the redesigned VCRT, as well as the training resources they offer. They start off discussing Fieldpiece's philosophy of developing solutions for technicians' real pain points, not just making products. Understanding workflows and obstacles lets them design better tools. Tony then reveals their new line of valve core removal tools aimed at faster, easier access to system ports. Features include integrated ball valves to isolate gauges, sight glasses to confirm capture of the core, and improved ergonomics for gripping. Next they touch on Fieldpiece University, their free online learning platform for HVAC best practices. It contains individual courses as well as guided "training tracks" on full applications like combustion analysis. With quality content being critical, Tony aims to continue expanding their offerings this year. They also briefly discuss A2L refrigerants - while tool compatibility questions persist in the field, most quality equipment made in recent years carries approvals. Technicians mainly need to verify the manufacturer's guidance and adhere to existing best practices. Key topics: New valve core removal tools Enhanced sight glass and isolation Continual improvement of Fieldpiece University Clarifying tools and A2Ls The overarching theme is providing solutions - both through innovative tools and readily accessible education for the industry. You can learn more about Fieldpiece at https://www.fieldpiece.com/.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/24/202429 minutes, 55 seconds
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Absolute vs. Gauge Pressure (Micron Gauge vs. Manometer) - Short #184

In this short podcast episode, Bryan covers the differences between absolute and gauge pressure, as well as measuring pressure with a micron gauge or a manometer. Compression ratio deals with absolute suction and absolute discharge pressures. Absolute pressure requires us to add atmospheric pressure to the gauge pressure. We usually measure gauge pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). PSIG is the gauge pressure (zeroed to atmospheric pressure), and PSIA is the gauge pressure plus the atmospheric pressure (usually around 14.7 PSI).  When we measure vacuum pressure, we have "negative pressure" with respect to the atmosphere. We're not measuring less than zero pressure; we are in a positively pressurized environment, but the pressure is negative relative to the atmosphere (not absolutely). We use microns to measure deep vacuums; they are tiny pressure units equivalent to a millionth of a meter of mercury column. Since microns measure absolute pressure, they always dip below atmospheric pressure and approach 0 (but never reach it because we're not in a perfect vacuum). We don't have to zero the micron gauge because it automatically measures with respect to zero. Manometers measure pressure differentials; they measure pressure in reference to something else, whether that's the room around you (whatever you've zeroed it to) or another point on the system (measured at the other port). In any case, we're not referencing 0 PSIA. Many manometers may pick up readings in the inches of water column scale, and some even measure very small scales like Pascals.    Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/23/202410 minutes, 56 seconds
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Is Dual Fuel the Answer? w/ Tom Buescher

In this HVAC School podcast, Bryan and Tom Buescher with Copeland discuss dual-fuel heat pump systems as an intermediate step towards more sustainable heating solutions. They talk about the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from residential heating and cooling, which accounts for over half of home energy use. While heat pumps can provide higher efficiency, simply switching everyone to electric isn’t realistic in the short term. Factors like grid capacity, infrastructure, and consumer comfort have to be considered. Dual fuel systems allow for a hybrid approach - utilizing heat pumps to provide the bulk of heating, with gas heating as a backup for the coldest stretches. This arrangement allows more heat pumps to be adopted now while still ensuring warmth and meeting consumer expectations. It bridges the gap during this transitional period as grids adapt to more renewable generation. Key topics covered: Tom’s industry background The role of location - dual-fuel makes the most sense in northern climates zones 3-5 currently Electrical factors - service capacity, indoor air temp, wiring Existing home challenges - ductwork, insulation Staged operation of dual fuel systems Role of hybrid approaches during transitions New universal controls and thermostats enabling these dual-fuel setups Overall, Bryan and Tom have a nuanced discussion about creating real progress incrementally, meeting consumer needs alongside policy goals. Considering both environmental and practical perspectives is key.   Visit Copeland’s website at https://www.copeland.com/en-us and Sensi at https://sensi.copeland.com/en-us. You can also watch our new install video featuring the Sensi Touch 2 at https://hvacrschool.com/videos/sensi-touch-2-install/.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/18/202437 minutes, 52 seconds
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NTC, PTC and Thermocouples - Short #183

In this short podcast episode, Bryan dives into NTC, PTC, and thermocouples. NTC and PTC are two types of thermistors, and all three tools are used to sense temperature. Thermistors are resistors that change their resistance based on a change in temperature. They must be powered, and the resistance changes the amperage. You can test a thermistor with an ohmmeter at a fixed temperature. The best temperature for testing is the thermistor's rated temperature, typically 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  NTC thermistors are negative temperature coefficient thermistors; as the temperature decreases, the resistance increases, and vice versa. Temperature and resistance are inversely proportional. PTC thermistors are positive temperature coefficient thermistors, and the temperature and resistance are directly proportional. These types of thermistors are usually quite accurate, and they are common in thermostats. PTCs are common in certain types of hard start kits, in which they help take the start capacitor or start winding out of the circuit. They have the same function as a potential relay. The resistance increases with temperature, meaning the PTC gets hotter and raises its resistance until the circuit opens, but it takes a while to reset because it needs to cool down. Thermocouples work because they generate a voltage in response to a temperature difference between two dissimilar metals. This phenomenon is called the Seebeck effect. Thermocouples are hardy devices used in temperature-sensing equipment, and they measure over a wider range than thermistors. However, thermocouples tend to be less accurate than thermistors.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/16/20247 minutes, 44 seconds
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How to Save Energy with Grocery Store Refrigeration

This podcast episode focuses on practical ways to save energy with grocery store refrigeration systems, with Matthew Taylor from Kalos Services sharing insights from both a technician and business owner perspective. The hosts emphasize that proper, consistent operation and preventing short cycling of compressors can have a major impact as the largest power consumers. Proper control strategies, like ensuring evaporator pressure regulators (EPRs) are working, maintaining subcooling, and preventing excessive compressor staging and rapid on/off cycling, are critical for reducing energy consumption. Often, technicians troubleshooting issues bypass these controls when they could be tuned and optimized instead. Matthew stresses the financial benefit for owners when technicians understand the original design intent and how to optimize performance, not just apply a band-aid fix to problems. He advises business owners to track power bill anomalies to catch inefficiencies. Other key factors covered: ensuring clean evaporator coils, properly functioning doors/curtains, humidity control, condensed maintenance, addressing core issues like suction pressure rather than quick fixes, compression ratio impacts, and coordinating refrigeration with HVAC equipment. Implementing complex new networked equipment has trade-offs as well - while offering more data, it requires different skill sets to leverage. Topics covered: Optimizing EPRs and refrigeration controls Preventing short cycling and improper staging Following the original system design intent Tracking power bills to catch system drift The impacts of evaporator coil cleanliness Building envelope considerations Humidity control relationship with refrigeration Compression ratio and suction pressure optimization Evaluating networked controls vs. ease of maintenance Recommissioning   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/11/202443 minutes, 11 seconds
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An ACCA Form You Probably Never Heard Of w/ Ed J.

The podcast is a conversation between Ed and Bryan about using the ACCA Residential Plans Examiner Review Form, an ACCA form you probably never heard of, to demonstrate that proper HVAC system design procedures were followed based on the Manual J, Manual S, and Manual D guidelines. Ed introduces the Residential Plans Examiner Review Form as a one-page document that allows contractors to show they gathered the minimum necessary information to complete a proper HVAC system design. The form doesn't teach how to actually do the design calculations but can help explain the design to others not familiar with it, like code officials asking for documentation. The form is meant as a bridge to facilitate communication between contractors and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs). Ed shares stories of using the form successfully to work with code officials and gain approval. Bryan asks clarifying questions about the intended audience for the form - whether for residential new construction only or also replacement - since it references the duct design Manual D procedures. Ed explains the full manuals would likely only apply to new construction and add-ons, but elements could apply to replacements if load calculations are required locally. The details depend on the specific project and jurisdiction. Topics covered: Purpose and use of ACCA Residential Plans Examiner Review Form Information that the form documents from Manual J, Manual S, and Manual D The form's audience (primarily code officials/AHJs, but it's also helpful for contractors) Applicability for residential new construction, add-ons, and some replacements Stories of working with local code officials using the standard form Where to access online - ACCA website and search by full name   Access the document information and examples online HERE and learn more about ACCA at https://acca.org/home.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
1/4/202428 minutes, 22 seconds
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Solving & Preventing Oil Issues in Rack Refrigeration

In this HVAC podcast episode, hosts Bryan Orr and Matthew Taylor (refrigeration leader and trainer at Kalos Services) discuss oil management and considerations in supermarket refrigeration systems, with a focus on solving & preventing oil issues. They talk about the importance of stable system operation and how oil flows through both active and passive systems in these larger built-up racks. Matthew explains that in a rack system, oil is actively separated and returned to the compressors through a dedicated system. However, not all oil gets captured this way, so the passive system of oil returning through the refrigeration cycle still occurs. Problems can arise in either system, leading to compressors locking out. Matthew stresses properly setting and regulating EPR valves to minimize load fluctuations that impact system stability. Common issues covered include clogged oil separators, misadjusted or damaged oil controls, changes in suction pressure affecting oil flow, the impact of floating suction pressures, and troubleshooting overfilled compressors. Matthew offers tips like feeling the oil separator line temperature and using working racks as a guide when unsure of proper settings. The discussion highlights how poor defrost performance can indicate oil trapping issues. Matthew and Bryan also cover: Active vs passive oil management in racks Setting EPR valves for stable operation Clogged oil separators and failed floats Suction pressure fluctuations disrupting oil flow Strategies for floating suction pressures Steps for readjusting oil controls Signs of oil trapping issues in the refrigeration cycle Using working racks to guide troubleshooting   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/28/202349 minutes, 38 seconds
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What is A2L Mitigation Going to Look Like? w/ Clifton B.

In this podcast, Bryan and Clifton discuss the upcoming transition to A2L refrigerants, like R-32 and R-454B, and what A2L mitigation is going to look like. These mildly flammable refrigerants will be used in place of R-410A for residential air conditioning systems due to an HFC phase-down driven by legislation and international agreements. They explain what mitigation means with A2L systems - sensors will detect refrigerant leaks, and the system will shut off and turn on the blower fan to dissipate any leaked refrigerant. The mitigation helps minimize flammability risk. They note the new A2L refrigerants contain no propane despite some misconceptions. The fundamentals of safe installation, service, and repair remain similar but will be absolutely required for A2Ls versus more loosely followed with previous refrigerants. Taking proper time and care is crucial. Bryan and Clifton then discuss the education, training, and resources available from ESCO Group to help contractors prepare for this transition. Key topics covered: Upcoming transition to A2L refrigerants R-32 and R-454B Phase down of R-410A driven by legislation and international agreements Definition and purpose of mitigation used with A2L air conditioners Misconception that new refrigerants contain propane Fundamentals of safe installation and service remain similar but even more vital Taking the proper time and avoiding rushing is crucial for safety Education, training, and resources available from ESCO Group Preparing the HVAC industry for the refrigerant transition The yearly AHR Expo and HVAC Excellence Conference   You can learn more about ESCO Institute at https://www.escogroup.org/ and explore the HVACR Learning Network at https://hvacr.elearn.network/. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/21/202338 minutes, 53 seconds
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Healthy Air Supplements vs. Pillars w/ Kevin Hart

Bryan and Kevin discuss indoor air quality solutions in terms of healthy air supplements vs. pillars of IAQ, drawing an analogy between IAQ supplements like electronic air cleaners and fitness supplements. They talk about why discussing these supplemental products can be controversial since many companies profit from selling them. However, the fundamentals of good IAQ - ventilation, filtration, and humidity control - are proven to work well, just as diet, exercise, and hydration promote good health. Most contractors focus more conversations and training around supplemental IAQ products versus the fundamentals, which parallels how society embraces fitness supplements over proper diet and exercise. However, a growing group of homeowners want real solutions, and the fundamentals often solve problems better and with less risk than just adding devices. Measuring IAQ and using data-driven diagnoses lead to more targeted solutions, too. The fitness analogy applies well - you don't jump to supplements first, and adding more supplements isn't always better or healthier. Dosage and application really matter. Contractors should consider focusing 80% on IAQ fundamentals over supplemental products to best serve customers. Topics covered: Why discussing IAQ supplements is controversial Fundamentals of good IAQ: ventilation, filtration, humidity control Parallels between IAQ supplements and fitness supplements Reliance on and training around supplemental products versus fundamentals Growing consumer demand for real IAQ solutions Using IAQ monitoring and measurement for better solutions How having more supplements or devices isn't always better Dosage and proper application really matter Shifting contractor focus to 80% on IAQ fundamentals versus supplemental products   You can learn more about HAVEN products at https://haveniaq.com/ or become a HAVEN pro at https://pro.haveniaq.com/.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/14/202343 minutes, 12 seconds
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Hot Deck, Cold Deck - Short #182

In this short episode, Bryan discusses the unique features of hot deck, cold deck systems. These systems have separate heating and cooling components (if not entire systems). Older systems may have completely separate duct systems: one for heating and one for cooling. These ducts would go to each space, and you'd essentially have twice the ductwork you'd expect nowadays. Some systems also have a separate hot deck and cold deck in a single appliance (a bit like gas furnaces with case coils). We also use the term "hot deck, cold deck" to refer to systems with secondary fluid in a single appliance that produces heating and cooling. Heat recovery or heat-pump chillers use secondary fluids to carry heat around (these fluids don't expand and change state like refrigerant). A traditional chiller is often used in combination with a boiler system, and both can be shut on or off; this configuration can be tricky in shoulder seasons, and a hot deck, cold deck system could be beneficial instead.  Buffer tanks also allow energy to be stored in a hot deck, cold deck configuration. Hot deck, cold deck systems may also be beneficial in humid climates if the cooling component is before the heating component; the system could provide heating, cooling, and dehumidification. You could also use hot deck, cold deck systems for domestic hot water (via a heat exchanger) and cold plunges. It's even possible to use flammable refrigerants in heat recovery chillers that use this configuration.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/12/202310 minutes, 45 seconds
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Common Callbacks and Failed Inspections on Install

In this episode of HVAC School, hosts Bryan Orr and Bert discuss practical tips for preventing callbacks and failed inspections in residential HVAC installs and maintenance. Bryan and Bert stress the importance of getting the basics right, like properly cleaning condensate drains, ensuring proper drain pitch, and sealing ducts completely before relying on tapes and mastic to cover gaps. They emphasize verifying full system operation at the end of a job, from checking that drains flow freely to testing float switches and pressure testing for leaks. Bryan and Bert also cover wire and breaker sizing for equipment changes, securing disconnects, proper thermostat wall seals, inspecting joints with bubbles to find microscopic leaks, and more thorough evacuations and leak checks. Throughout the casual, conversational show, the hosts inject colorful commentary on doing quality work with a little sarcasm, including praising the merits of duct board and flex ducts. The tone is partly tongue-in-cheek but drives home the point that shortcuts lead to callbacks and leave clients dissatisfied. Bert and Bryan also discuss: Becoming masters of the obvious Common condensate line issues The issues with double traps Ensuring adequate filter access for the customer Wiring float switches in series vs. in parallel Sealing ductwork effectively Using your senses to find airflow leaks in the ductwork Pressure testing for refrigerant leaks Common leak points in systems and their causes Correct electrical setup and markings Securing outdoor unit placement Sealing thermostat wall penetrations Thorough evacuation and leak checks   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/7/202351 minutes, 1 second
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When Permits Are Not Needed - Short #181

In this short episode, Bryan talks about the situations when permits are not needed to install HVAC/R (or HVAC/R-related) components. A few codes are universal in residential HVAC, including the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Mechanical Code (IMC). The local municipality, also known as the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), chooses which codes to adopt.  You do not need a permit to install plug-in, cord-connected appliances. However, you need UL-listed plugs. You can also replace plugs without needing a permit, but the ratings need to be correct. Anything less than 25v that doesn't put out more than 50 watts of energy also doesn't require a permit. Thermostats and many IAQ accessories, including UV lights, fall into this category. Portable heating and ventilation appliances, including space heaters and portable cooling units or dehumidifiers, also don't require permits. Evaporative or "swamp" coolers also don't need a permit for installation. Self-contained units with 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and are actuated by motors with However, emergency replacements and repairs (per R105.2.1 in the IRC) also don't require a permit, at least not before performing the work. The only condition is that the permit application must be submitted to the AHJ within the next business day. This rule can come in handy when you can't wait for the permit submission process and need to do an emergency repair or changeout.    Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
12/5/20236 minutes, 29 seconds
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What's Different About Pool Heaters w/ Bert

In this podcast, Bryan Orr and Bert discuss various aspects of pool heaters, focusing on issues that make them different from typical HVAC systems. They cover the basics of pool heaters - the main types (heat pumps and gas heaters) and how they operate similarly or differently from things HVAC techs work on regularly. The bulk of the 45-minute podcast looks at common service and troubleshooting situations with pool heaters, which are usually installed by pool contractors initially and not HVAC contractors. Bryan and Bert talk through typical causes of common error codes and problems like units frequently going out on high pressure. They cover water flow issues and the role of pressure versus flow switches, the sizing and limitations of heat pumps, low ambient operation challenges, freeze protection, and proper refrigerant charging. There is also a good amount of discussion on gas pool heaters - frequent component failures due to heat and corrosion issues, piping considerations due to their large BTU capacity, and combustion troubleshooting basics. Throughout the casual discussion, both hosts interject humor and personal stories related to their dealings with pool heater equipment, clients, and installations over the years. The overall message is that while heat pumps and gas pool heaters have some specialized considerations, much of the core knowledge needed to service them comes from foundational HVAC systems understanding combined with an awareness of the unique aspects covered in detail during this episode. Topics Covered: Types of pool heaters How heat pump and gas pool heater operation compare to HVAC Typical installation and service providers Key components and design aspects Common high-pressure issues and troubleshooting water flow problems Low ambient operation challenges Refrigerant charging considerations Gas piping sizing for large BTU appliances Corrosion issues and component failures Combustion testing basics   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/30/202346 minutes, 27 seconds
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Farads, Micro and Pico - Short #180

In this short episode, Bryan explains the fundamentals of capacitance, focusing on the unit of measure: farads, including micro and pico. Farads are named after scientist Michael Faraday and measure capacitance; one farad represents the capacitance of a capacitor in which one coulomb of charge causes a potential difference of one volt across the plates. Farads measure the storage of electrical energy and indicate the capacitor's ability to create a phase shift. Since farads are large units, our capacitors are rated in microfarads (1/1,000,000 farads). Bigger capacitors have higher microfarad ratings and store more charge. Capacitors create a phase shift and limit current on the start or auxiliary winding. (You'll read less current across the start winding than the run winding or common when a run capacitor is in the circuit.) The start winding helps get a single-phase motor up and running (but it isn't present on all motors). Three-phase power has three windings, and it has three sine waves 120 degrees out of phase with each other, all of which can apply directional force. A single-phase motor has two windings and only one sine wave, so it doesn't have that phase difference, making it difficult to start a motor. Capacitors charge and discharge at a different point of the sine wave, causing a phase shift. A picofarad is 1/1,000,000,000 farad, which is smaller than the microfarads we use. However, our meters can auto-range into the picofarad scale if they read a very weak capacitor. You'll have to make sure your meter is reading in the microfarad scale, not the picofarad scale.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/28/20238 minutes, 4 seconds
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All About 90% Furnaces

Bryan Orr hosted a live podcast discussion all about 90% efficient furnaces with HVAC professionals Ty Branaman, Adam Mufich, and Matthew Bruner. They covered the basics of how 90% furnaces work compared to traditional 80% furnaces, troubleshooting tips, and best practices for installation and service. A key difference with 90% furnaces is the addition of a secondary heat exchanger that extracts more heat from the exhaust gases before they go out the flue. This allows the furnace to achieve at least 90% efficiency. The condensing of water vapor in the exhaust also releases latent heat. However, the acidic condensate must be properly drained, and pipes must be corrosion-resistant. Proper airflow is also critical. The experts emphasized starting any service job by carefully looking over the furnace and venting. Check for any signs of problems like leaks, debris buildup, or animals/pests blocking vents. Verify gas supply and use combustion analysis to optimize performance. When troubleshooting, methodically trace through the sequence of operations. Pressure switches, flame sensors, and airflow issues are common culprits. The podcast concludes with a reminder that extensive training content on HVAC topics like this is available through HVAC School and other industry experts. Continuing education and an open, collaborative mindset are important for professional growth. Key topics covered: How 90% furnaces achieve higher efficiency with a secondary heat exchanger Water condensation and corrosion concerns - importance of drainage and pipe material Verifying gas supply, venting, airflow, and using combustion analysis Troubleshooting tips - visually inspecting, tracing sequence of operations, checking pressure switches and flame sensor Proper installation positioning and intake/exhaust vent sizing per manufacturer specifications   View the entire livestream with Ty on our YouTube channel HERE. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/23/20231 hour, 9 seconds
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Analog vs. Digital Sine - Short #179

In this short podcast, Bryan breaks down the differences between analog and digital sine waves. Analog readings deal with an unlimited number of values; they are very precise and can have any number of decimals. As a result, the alternating current (AC) analog sine readings have very smooth curves when we read them on an oscilloscope (in the US, we see 60 peak-and-valley cycles per second because the frequency is 60 hertz).  Variable frequency drives (VFDs) and ECMs work with digital outputs instead. The alternating current (AC) input is flattened out and then replicated as a direct current (DC) digital output that mimics an analog sine wave using technologies like pulse-width modulation (PWM). Digital outputs appear as a series of steps on an oscilloscope, but PWM doesn't output different "steps" of voltage. PWM just changes the length and frequency according to the duty cycle (percentage of the time energized or unenergized). Digital scrolls turn on and off very often, and the time they spend "on" is the duty cycle, which determines how it stages up and down. While ECM motor modules usually won't work with regular motors, VFDs can run with typical motors and modify sine waves. These sine waves don't have a smooth curve, but the digital waves can be smoothed out while voltage and current are modified. If VFD-driven motors aren't designed or shaft-grounded properly, electrical discharge machining (EDM) can happen with high-frequency voltage spikes, which can damage the shaft and bearings.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/21/20237 minutes, 49 seconds
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Why and How of Combustion Analysis w/ Tyler Nelson

Bryan Orr interviews Tyler Nelson, an HVAC expert with over 20 years of experience as a contractor. They have an in-depth discussion about combustion analysis and why it is becoming increasingly important for HVAC technicians to utilize this process. The conversation provides an overview of combustion analysis benefits and why HVAC pros should incorporate it into their standard operating procedures. Tyler offers insightful perspectives from his decades of contracting experience, including his knowledge of how field conditions vary and factory settings may not translate perfectly. Carbon monoxide poses several dangers to customers and HVAC technicians. Tyler talks about CO poisoning risks and how analyzers can help detect issues. He also covers AHRI Guideline X for cracked heat exchanger testing and emphasizes the need to use combustion analyzers, not just visual inspection, to reliably detect cracks. Tyler also demonstrates the use of the Sauermann combustion analyzer and mobile app. He highlights key features like replaceable sensors, app control and reporting, and programming for optimum CO sensor protection. He details how combustion analysis allows you to optimize setup, monitor equipment health, and troubleshoot issues. Tyler and Bryan also discuss: Why combustion analysis is critical for proper HVAC system installation, maintenance, and diagnostics CO poisoning and risks to HVAC technicians AHRI Guideline X The role of combustion analysis in system commissioning, maintenance, and diagnostics Sauermann combustion analyzer and mobile app Advice for technicians to embrace innovations like analyzers while retaining old-school skills and knowledge   Read AHRI Guideline X in its entirety at https://www.ahrinet.org/search-standards/ahri-guideline-x-induced-draft-furnace-heat-exchanger-inspection.  Learn more about Sauermann tools at https://sauermanngroup.com/en-INT, and you can connect with Tyler on LinkedIn HERE. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS.  “Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/9/20231 hour, 1 minute, 24 seconds
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Checking a Heat Pump in Heat Mode - Short #178

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about checking the charge of a heat pump in heat mode. This skill will become more critical as ambient temperatures get cooler. The most reliable way to check and set the charge regardless of operating mode and season is to weigh the charge. This method is most practical during installation and commissioning, and proper commissioning can prevent issues with charge levels later. Weighing the charge is recommended for big repairs, like major component replacements. But in many cases, we don't need to check the charge by hooking up gauges; we can check for proper operation by taking a few line temperature readings. Before carrying out any tests or taking readings, make sure the heat pump is defrosted and that you've carried out a full visual inspection. You can carry out a full delivered capacity test in either cooling or heating mode (without the electric heat strips energized) to determine how many BTUs the system is moving. Some simpler tests will require you to compare the discharge vapor line and suction line temperatures to the outdoor temperature and the liquid line temperature to the indoor temperature.  Manufacturers will give specific instructions for their units, including covering the condenser, and they may have charts to help you calculate system pressures based on indoor and outdoor temperatures. If you want to check suction pressure on the low side, you'll always use the common suction port, but you can take either discharge pressure or liquid pressure on the high side. Bryan also covers: Critical charge  Ductless system charging practices Some manufacturer-specific practices Indoor temperatures and system pressures R-22 rules of thumb Total discharge superheat Staging and capacity considerations Weighing out when in doubt   Read the tech tip about this topic at https://hvacrschool.com/checking-charge-heat-pump-winter/.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@HVACS. Check out our handy calculators HERE or on the HVAC School Mobile App (Google Play Store or App Store).
11/7/202314 minutes, 36 seconds
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An IAQ & Dehum Case Study w/ Genry & Nikki

Nikki Krueger and Genry Garcia return to the podcast to talk about a recent IAQ & dehumidification case study on a vintage home in Miami. The home was very clean but had a musty odor and VOC concerns. You can read the case study in the “Literature” section at https://www.santa-fe-products.com/about-us/media-resources/ or https://hvacrschool.com/case-study.  Blower door tests and ZPD revealed that the home was leaky, and the crawlspace was also not properly encapsulated. The options were to tighten the building and/or mitigate the problem by improving the HVAC system. The homeowners chose to improve the HVAC, which Genry did by installing a ventilating dehumidifier (Santa Fe Ultra98H), reducing system tonnage (3.5 to 2 tons), and putting in new ductwork. One of Genry’s key tips to address intermittent moisture issues is to pay attention to fluctuating pressures, not just under the blower door test conditions. Ongoing monitoring is crucial in these studies to measure the home under several different typical conditions. He also relies on blower door tests to determine if encapsulation is necessary or needs improvement, as insulation and encapsulation can bring new issues in their wake.  Extensive testing and working with other contractors (such as home insulators) are the best ways to get a solution that makes the homeowner happy. We need a holistic approach to design to achieve a homeowner’s IAQ and comfort goals, not necessarily following strict design guidelines to a T. Nikki, Genry, and Bryan also discuss: Zonal pressure diagnostics (ZPD) Dehumidifier ductwork Dehumidifier selection Attic encapsulation, condensation, and duct leakage MAD AIR The importance of IAQ case studies and the insights we can get from them Effects of insulation Dehumidifier performance in part-load conditions Mechanical equipment design Consulting the ACCA design manuals Maintaining equipment and sustaining positive results   Stay tuned for the companion tech tip. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/2/202354 minutes, 1 second
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Creating a Business Where Everyone Wins w/ Tommy Mello

Skilled trades entrepreneur Tommy Mello joins the podcast to talk about creating a business where everyone wins: business owners, employees, vendors, AND customers. Tommy's main motivations in business are relationship-building and helping employees make a good living. Those motivations contribute to the development of company culture; even though cultures build themselves naturally, developing the right leaders will help build a positive company culture that values all employees equally. Tommy trains leaders to develop their strengths, shows them that they are valued, and gives them the resources they need to succeed. When companies grow, communication tools and project management technologies need to be standardized to help organize the company, including using checklists and SOPs. Departments also need to keep their focus on the company's main goal, not just the success of their division. The goal is to make sure that people are aware of their responsibilities early on and on board with the company's vision. To get the right people on board in the first place, we can improve our recruiting processes if we use social media to recruit talent—people who already have a job and are proven in their roles. Tommy also sees recruiting as a constant process that happens everywhere in the community and requires communication and follow-up. Tommy and Bryan also cover: Tommy's business: A1 Garage Doors Service Training leaders Allocating responsibilities and getting the right people on the bus Not punishing people for mistakes Unifying competition and collaboration Striking a balance of go-getting and humility Hiring for your weaknesses Tommy's new book, Elevate Building a legacy around serving others Seeing everyone as an individual instead of a representative Pricing and integrity   Check out Tommy's latest book, Elevate, at http://elevateandwin.com/. You can also learn more about his 2023 Freedom event in Orlando from Nov 1-3, 2023, at https://freedomevent.com/.  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/26/202350 minutes, 8 seconds
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Tips for Supermarket Rack Service w/ Trevor

Refrigeration Mentor Trevor Matthews returns to the podcast to share some of his tips for supermarket rack service. The supermarket refrigeration world is ripe with high-paying opportunities and uses similar skills that HVAC technicians use daily. Switching from HVAC to refrigeration will require a little bit more attention to some new components, especially controls and control systems. Technically-minded people tend to do well in the refrigeration field regardless of where they come from. When you're sent to a job site, you'll need to investigate the store and the case (where the refrigeration happens) before checking the controller and looking at the alarms and trends. As with HVAC, you'll want to start by looking for the obvious, like frozen drains. (Even though these systems are designed to freeze, we still need proper airflow and don't want standing water in the drains to freeze.) We don't want to go in there with our tools and start adjusting valves immediately. Attention to detail is critical in refrigeration. Getting familiar with the details of the equipment, especially by studying the P&IDs, will help you immensely. Being detailed in your service notes and logs will help you and anyone else who might work on the equipment; you can also keep a list of follow-up calls, which allows you to make proposals that bring value to your company, especially in the slower seasons, and prevents emergency service calls later. Trevor and Bryan also cover: The growth of Refrigeration Mentor Moving from an HVAC career to a refrigeration career Refrigeration dispatch procedure and tips Ice-bound coils, defrost, and freezing patterns Service procedures for common drains Band-aid fixes and re-commissioning equipment What to keep in a detailed log Quality vs. quantity of work Bringing value to your grocery refrigeration clients Positives and drawbacks of the refrigeration industry   Check out some of the great training Trevor offers through his Refrigeration Mentor program at https://refrigerationmentor.com/. You can also email Trevor at [email protected].  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/19/202349 minutes, 9 seconds
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Traps, Vents & Drains - Short #177

In this short episode, Bryan covers traps, vents, and drains. He explains some common misconceptions and best practices for fabricating drains, especially in residential and light commercial structures in Florida. Cleanouts and vents are commonly confused with each other, and people often cap vents and leave cleanouts open. However, cleanouts (which must be capped) will always be before the trap, and vents come after the trap. When you have an indoor air handler, furnace, or fan coil, vents must be higher than the drain pan to allow the float switch to trip when the drain backs up. (Rooftop units have shorter vents.) Vents should stay open. We use static pressure to determine the trap depth, and the trap outlet must be shorter than the inlet. The best practice for drain pitch is to have 1/4" of fall for every foot of horizontal run, and we must avoid making double traps where air can get trapped between them. Vents prevent air bubbles from forming in drains with multiple traps. Double traps often form when drains are not supported properly and sag over time; using proper support in your installations is the best way to prevent that from happening.  In Florida, we often use only one trap and still get drainage. A typical installation has a cleanout, a trap, and a vent higher than the drain pan, all on a downward pitch. However, we also get severe condensation on our drains, and we must insulate the horizontal PVC runs to prevent sweating. In multi-family applications with common drains, each individual needs a trap and then a vent before the main drain.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/17/20238 minutes, 47 seconds
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Cracking the Home Health Comfort Code: IAQ’s Illusory Ideals

HAVEN IAQ founder and CEO Kevin Hart returns to the podcast to discuss cracking the home health comfort code, diving into IAQ’s illusory ideals. Even though the industry has been generating well-thought solutions to common problems, it’s difficult to put those solutions into practice on a large scale. As a result, it’s common to rely on selling “bolt-on” IAQ products, which don’t actually solve systemic IAQ problems. HAVEN’s recent work has also shown that only a few HVAC technicians are proactively offering IAQ solutions to homeowners; the vast majority wait for the owner to ask about a solution instead.  Some IAQ issues stem from duct and building envelope leakage, meaning technicians could offer to perform diagnostic tests (like blower door testing) and address the solution holistically with building envelope and duct sealing. However, not all customers are willing to pay for these, which is one of the biggest challenges of comfort consultations. The question about the real long-term, widespread effectiveness of comfort consults remains to be answered. Right now, we only have the illusion that IAQ problems are being solved. We might see positive changes to the state of IAQ if there is more forethought on the technician’s part to include diagnostic tests in their quotes when it makes sense to do so. Our industry may also see more proactivity in the quest to solve IAQ problems holistically by establishing sales goals and approaches. Kevin and Bryan also cover: Latest HAVEN IAQ developments The IAQ status quo Technicians and sales Evolution of evacuation best practices in the field Proactivity vs. reactivity when addressing IAQ problems IAQ solution goals and approaches The value of commissioning reports DIY and consumer-based IAQ solutions “Getting in the reps” when using diagnostic tools to solve problems The benefits and challenges of selling diagnostic services   Learn more about HAVEN at https://haveniaq.com/ or become a HAVEN Pro today at https://pro.haveniaq.com/. You can also contact Kevin directly at [email protected].  Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.  
10/12/202338 minutes, 23 seconds
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Tubing Insulation Tips - Short #176

In this short podcast episode, Bryan goes over a few tubing insulation tips. Tubing insulation is also commonly known as Aeroflex, Armaflex, and Thermaflex—all brand names for black copper line set insulation. We typically have to insulate just the suction line in typical residential split HVAC systems, but you'll typically have to insulate both lines in ductless/VRV/VRF or refrigeration applications. The insulation should be on the tubing before brazing, gluing the ends together (only using a specialty tubing insulation adhesive, NOT duct tape!). Since these adhesives are types of contact cement, you will need to apply a thin coating on each side of the joint and wait for a few minutes before pushing the ends together. Some forms of tubing insulation are split and have an adhesive flap instead. Then, you'll want to hold the insulation back with a clamp about 8-10" away from the area where you're brazing to protect it from heat damage. When you finish brazing, you'll want to put the insulation back and make sure all necessary areas are covered. In cases where it's practical, especially in residential HVAC, pulling the insulation over the 90s and P-traps may be the best bet due to its smaller margins for error. However, mitered fittings may be required in larger systems. To assemble mitered fittings, use either a miter box or the template on the tubing insulation box. It's a good idea to use the disconnected tubing and make a mitered fitting on the bench as a template before making more—the tails can be a little long. Do NOT use the saw that comes with the miter kit—you will be fine with a very sharp knife that makes a smooth edge (and be safe!).   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/10/202311 minutes, 50 seconds
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The New HSI Module from White Rodgers

Jim Fultz returns to the podcast to talk about the new HSI module from White-Rodgers, the 50E47U-843. You can learn more about this new universal HSI module at https://hvacrschool.com/hsimodule.  Hot surface ignition modules control the burner for gas appliances that use hot surface ignition, not just furnaces. Since the HSI module doesn't need to work with a blower fan, it can be used in water heaters, pool heaters, and many more appliances that don't primarily move air (except for combustion). It also controls the inducer blower and monitors the pressure switch. All White-Rodgers universal ignition modules work with the WR Connect app, which allows users to set up controls with a smartphone via NFC technology. The controls do not need to be powered on, and users do not need to be online during use. Users can also use the app to auto-configure their new White-Rodgers controls based on the old control settings. Technicians aren't required to use the app and can configure controls manually if desired. Universal controls that all operate similarly, like the White-Rodgers ignition modules, are great for creating a consistent workflow and establishing truck stock. In HVAC businesses and in the field, these modules are great for delivering efficiency and quality. The 50E47U-843 also shows real-time flame current, eliminating the need for technicians to wire flame sensors in series with their meter for testing. Jim and Bryan also cover: Emerson, Copeland, and White-Rodgers Hot surface ignition vs. other types of ignition Integrated furnace controls (IFCs) How near-field communication (NFC) technology works Fault codes Electrical inputs and outputs Local vs. remote flame sensing Integrated thermostat sensor for infrared and tube heaters WR Connect, WR Mobile, and Copeland Mobile apps   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/5/202339 minutes, 14 seconds
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Locked Compressors and Hard Starts - Short #175

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about locked compressors and hard starts. He explains what actually happens when a compressor locks and covers when and how to use hard starts appropriately.  Locked compressors are compressors that trip on overload during startup; they're considered "locked" because the rotor doesn't turn inside the stator and generates heat instead. The overload opens, but the compressor shell typically does not heat up very much when the overload opens.  When you have a locked compressor, you need to start investigating the root cause with a thorough visual inspection. Then, check the run capacitor. A hard start kit helps you get the equipment working, but we should make sure we've addressed underlying electrical issues or installation conditions before installing a hard start kit. If the unit is old, then we may use a hard start as a temporary solution until the customer can purchase a new unit. In any case, it's best to use a factory hard start if the system requires it, but it's okay to use an aftermarket hard start kit to get an old system to run. Hard start kits consist of a start capacitor in series with the start winding, which moves more current into the start winding and decreases the time it takes to start the compressor; lower current readings indicate a faster amperage drop, as most ammeters read timed average values. The potential relay needs to open to take the start capacitor out of the circuit so that we don't continuously apply additional current to the start winding, which hurts the compressor over time. The hard start kit is not a silver bullet that solves all problems, and we need to know when to use them and how to use them appropriately.   Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/3/202314 minutes, 36 seconds
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Residential Exhaust Codes and Best Practices

Licensed mechanical engineer Tony Amadio joins the podcast to talk about residential exhaust codes and best practices. He also put together a presentation about the topic, which you can view at https://hvacrschool.com/exhaust.  When choosing duct materials for residential exhaust, you will want to stick to sheet metal and mind the gauge; flex ductwork can easily be damaged and will rack up a high total equivalent length in a way that sheet metal will not. Exhaust air should always discharge outdoors, not into an attic or crawl space, and that air needs to be replaced by air entering the conditioned space; makeup air is the air we draw in to replace the exhausted air, and we need appropriate undercuts to make sure we're getting the right amount of makeup air. Domestic cooking exhaust may also come in a few different varieties, each of which has different code requirements (with downdrafts needing much more CFM per ASHRAE). Range hood shape is also important for capturing as many particles as possible, but makeup air kits are usually unnecessary (and could be more of a hassle than they're worth). When it comes to bathroom exhaust, the CFM requirements differ between residential and light commercial, as well as intermittent and continuous exhaust. Steam generators may also be present, and they require extra consideration. Tony and Bryan also cover: Tony's education and career background Discharging and terminating exhaust air Insect screens Makeup air in light commercial applications Clothing dryer vs. bathroom vents Ductless clothes dryers and condensate piping Home Ventilation Institute (HVI) guidelines Pressure imbalance in a structure Residential vs. light commercial bathroom exhaust Static pressure, blower sizing, and exhaust duct sizing   You can ask Tony questions by email at [email protected]. Learn more about the 5th Annual HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/Symposium24. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/28/202357 minutes, 12 seconds
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Wiring Refrigerated Cases w/ Nathan & Phil

Phil Barr and Nathan Orr join the podcast to talk about wiring refrigerated cases in commercial spaces, including convenience stores and supermarkets. Cases may be medium-temp (or high-temp, in some cases) or low-temp. Medium-temp cases can typically defrost on their own during the off cycle, and low-temp cases may have electric or hot-gas defrost to help get ice off the coil at set intervals. Each system has an evaporator (and fans), compressor, condenser, and metering device (often a TXV or EEV), and low-temp refrigeration may have anti-sweat heaters, EPRs, and other components to manage. Challenges arise when electricians don't understand the fundamentals of commercial refrigeration, especially as the electrical circuitry relates to the refrigeration circuit components. Time crunches also apply a lot of pressure to electricians and refrigeration technicians. Testing circuits, such as fans and lighting, or using circuit tracers are good ways to get an idea of how an existing system is wired. Labeling wires and breakers and keeping those labels or information in places where others can read them can help you and other electricians in the future. One of the most common issues happens when technicians or electricians refuse to test out their results to catch their mistakes before callbacks happen. Even seemingly small electrical issues, such as improper lighting, can cause costly losses if product spoils and cannot be sold. Phil, Nathan, and Bryan also cover: Changes in central and case control strategies over time Challenges with retrofits and remodels Central lighting controls Mistakes that can be made when labeling wires or breakers Working against the clock Terminal blocks, DIN rails, and connectors Making mistakes and the origin of animosity   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/14/202344 minutes, 12 seconds
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Things to Keep out of the System - Class

This podcast is a class taught by Bryan: Things to Keep Out of the System. He covers some installation best practices along the way to keep contaminants and non-condensable gases out of the system. We want to keep air, water, dirt, copper shavings, solvents, and nitrogen out of an operating system. All we want in an operating system is the appropriate oil and refrigerant for the system. Unfortunately, the POE and PVE oil we mostly use in residential systems nowadays are very hygroscopic; they attract water, and POE mixes with water to form acid, another thing we want to keep out of the system. We can pull most of the moisture out of the system by pulling a deep vacuum and following the best practices for a fast and deep evacuation. However, we can also reduce the probability of moisture getting into the system in the first place by NOT working on copper while it's raining outside, sealing the copper tubing adequately when routing it underground or in a chase (a common installation practice in Florida), and insulating it properly. Dirt can easily get into the system when we're modifying piping, especially when adding fittings or reaming, but we can use nitrogen or line set cleaners to flush it out. Purging the lines and flowing nitrogen while brazing also help keep air and water vapor out of the copper lines. When deburring, try to avoid letting the burr or copper shavings from falling into the tubing. Bryan also covers: Drawbacks to running copper underground Oil return and miscibility with refrigerant Flowing nitrogen without a regulator Leak detection and nitrogen pressure testing Why we should ream or deburr copper to prevent leaks Being able to trust your equipment   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/7/202326 minutes, 51 seconds
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ACH (Air Changes Per Hour) - Short #174

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about air changes per hour, also known as ACH, and what it means in HVAC design and indoor air quality (IAQ) discussions. ACH tells us how frequently the entire volume of air in a room or structure is replaced; we are referring to the cubic feet of air leaving a space and then being replaced within that same space. If we have a balanced number of cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air supplied to and returned from the room in one hour, we would multiply that CFM by 60 to get the ACH, as there are 60 minutes in one hour. ACH should not be used to calculate heat loss and heat gain, even though BTUs are moved with air. ACH is a practical guideline for HVAC design. Ventilation needs will vary based on the purpose of a room and the number of occupants in it, and ACH tends to be a more important factor for determining how we can meet ventilation needs in commercial and industrial structures than in residential structures, in which we mostly rely on Manual J calculations of sensible and latent BTU gains and losses. However, we should not confuse ACH with outdoor air ventilation requirements as described in ASHRAE Standards 62.1 and 62.2. ACH also comes into play when it comes to infiltration and the tightness of an entire structure. When used in the context of blower door testing, the ACH will tell us if a building meets tightness standards. There is also a term called ACH50, which refers to air changes per hour at the standard pressure for blower door testing: -50 Pascals. ACH50 does not reflect ACH under natural conditions (ACH natural).   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/5/20239 minutes, 55 seconds
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Oil Return and Refrigerant Charge in VRV w/ Roman Baugh

Roman Baugh joins the podcast to talk about oil return and the refrigerant charge in VRV systems. VRV systems—also known as variable refrigerant volume (or variable refrigerant flow/VRF) systems—have one outdoor unit, one or multiple compressors, and multiple indoor units. The outdoor unit modulates to meet the indoor units’ fluctuating demands. They are versatile and flexible systems. Like parallel racks, VRV systems have long lines and a lot of piping, so oil return and refrigerant charge are especially critical. VRVs have specific control protocols, as they need refrigerant volume and velocity to move oil and keep it lubricating the compressor for its entire lifespan; oil return mode, the refrigerant charge, and the piping protocols are supposed to support that function.  When it comes to piping protocols, line sizing is critical. Whenever there is a need to relocate the outdoor unit and change the piping configuration, the charge needs to be adjusted, and the piping may even need to be upsized to prevent restrictions from happening. Daikin has VRV WebXpress (and SplitXpress) software for equipment selection; the goal is to help installers out with the line length and charging whenever it needs to be changed.  When trying to get the oil return and line sizing right, you ultimately need to look at the manufacturer’s literature and resources. It also helps service technicians if the installer makes the charge and line information readily available to anyone who works on their VRV install in the future. Roman and Bryan also discuss: Where and how oil can settle in VRVs Consequences of improper charge in VRVs Liquid lines in VRVs Violating piping rules and safety protocols Vertical separation in liquid line sizing Suction line sizing POE and PVE oil miscibility Daikin’s resources   Check out daikincity.com to find Daikin’s literature and software programs. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/31/202340 minutes, 15 seconds
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Magical Air Cleaning Oxides? - Short #173

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about oxidation and all the buzz behind “magical air-cleaning oxides” and other similar IAQ products. Oxidation is the loss of electrons, and reduction is the gain of electrons; oxygen commonly loses electrons. Rusting is a common example of oxidation; it happens when iron and oxygen interact in air or water. Metals that are more likely to react with oxygen (or corrode) are “less noble” than more noble metals. Less-noble metals, known as anodes, are sometimes used sacrificially to prevent the oxidation of nobler base metals, known as cathodes. While iron oxidation results in corrosion, some IAQ products use the process to bind oxygen molecules to unwanted substances. The IAQ products that use oxidation use the natural tendency of oxygen to lose electrons when bonding with other molecules. Ozone is a common agent of these IAQ products because an ozone molecule is very unstable and has three oxygen atoms, meaning it combines with other molecules via oxidation; it stabilizes other unstable molecules. Ozone, however, also reacts similarly with cells in our respiratory system and can cause irritation.  In our industry’s efforts to reduce the negative effects of COVID-19 viruses, oxidation has generated a good deal of interest. Nowadays, some IAQ products use smaller amounts of ozone or use activated carbon to catch ozone before it enters the conditioned space. Many manufacturers that use oxidation as a strategy use other ion-based oxidizers, just not ozone. Some of these oxidizers can break pollutants into aldehydes and other chemicals that may harm our bodies.   If you want to learn more, you can read Oxidizers and What It Has to Do With COVID-19. Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/29/202314 minutes, 26 seconds
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Can Filters Capture Viruses? - Short #172

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about filtration and IAQ, especially as they relate to virus control. He also answers the age-old question: “Can filters capture viruses?” While it may seem like particle size matters when it comes to filter efficacy, filters are not nets that strain air particles and prevent pollutants from passing through. When we talk about particles, we tend to focus on ones that are 0.3 microns in diameter, which tend to be medium-sized particles. Viruses tend to be among the smallest particles that we aim to control when it comes to IAQ. Filter media are crisscrossed fibers that catch particles in different ways. Inertial impaction is one means of stopping particles from passing through; the initial impact stops the particles from passing through. Interception happens when particles graze filter fibers and get stuck. Electrostatic attraction relies on energy to attract and catch particles. Diffusion happens when smaller particles move more erratically due to Brownian motion and get caught in the filter media.  Viruses are among those smaller particles. Smaller particles’ erratic motion makes them more likely to collide with the filter media, so they aren’t necessarily harder to catch. Higher MERV ratings are associated with higher capture efficiencies. HEPA filters surpass the MERV scale and have also been proven to filter viruses out of the air, but we rarely use true HEPA filtration in residential HVAC because they are too restrictive for total system airflow. We can use bypass HEPA filtration to filter the air without creating a massive restriction at the unit. Large filter-back returns with 2” filters can help catch more particles with a greater surface area without tanking the static pressure.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/22/202313 minutes, 12 seconds
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Heat Pumps + Inverters w/ Joey H

Joey Henderson returns to the podcast to talk about heat pumps and inverters. The reversing valve, defrost cycles, and auxiliary heat can cause confusion for people who have primarily worked with furnaces or straight-cool A/C systems. Heat pumps use defrost cycles and bring on the auxiliary heat when the coil is ice-bound, which can present a challenge; we need to maintain cold coils without going into defrost all the time.  Even though heat pumps were significantly less effective in years past, we will still see reduced performance in very cold conditions with the newer inverter-driven systems. Proper design, installation, and commissioning will also help occupants get the best performance out of their heat pumps. Inverters offer plenty of advantages for the cooling aspect of heat pumps, too, especially when it comes to achieving longer runtimes for dehumidification. They can also float their coil temperature, much like how refrigeration systems can use floating suction or head pressure. Condensate assemblies absolutely must be run properly to prevent backed-up drains and other related problems. Liquid line sizing and proper commissioning are also especially crucial for ductless inverter-driven systems. Joey and Bryan also discuss: Heat pump training and the electrification initiative Balance point Defrost strategies and universal defrost boards Dual-fuel systems Heat pump stigmas Blower door testing in various climate zones Surge protection and voltage monitoring How inverters work Occupant lifestyles and latent loads Zoning and duct design for inverter-driven systems Critical charge Line length for ductless systems   Check out Joey's training, social media, and contact information at https://joejoehvac.com/. You can also check out Greg Migliaccio's book about mini-splits at https://www.acservicetech.com/mini-split-book.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/17/202344 minutes, 13 seconds
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Get Air Where it Needs to Go W/ Joey H.

Joey Henderson joins the podcast to talk about airflow and how we can get air where it needs to go. Duct design is one of the subjects that fuel Joey's passion for HVAC. In many cases, people focus too heavily on the equipment when diagnosing airflow problems; sometimes, the equipment simply can't perform as it should due to a poorly designed duct system. In residential HVAC, many duct systems aren't adequately planned out, and the airflow can't overcome restrictions like filters. We also need to keep in mind that flex ducts need to be as straight and tight as possible, and it's usually best if we slightly upsize them (compared to sheet metal). Even though balancing dampers aim to solve airflow problems, they often lead to other issues when installed and used incorrectly. In many cases, proper duct design would solve problems without the need for balancing dampers. Bypass dampers are also commonly misapplied. Some technicians also aren't properly trained to position their static pressure probes appropriately to measure total external static pressure, which leads to faulty readings and misinformed diagnoses. We can start by looking at things that can improve system performance at the equipment, like filtration; we can think of the equipment as the heart and the duct system as arteries (with static pressure as blood pressure), and the equipment also has the biggest pressure drop. Joey and Bryan also discuss: Joey's HVAC beginnings in the Navy and current work in education Educators' unique communication styles Learning from other educators as an educator Plenum boxes and turbulence Using wye fittings Laminar flow Modifying existing duct systems Motors and amp draw Building duct transitions Clients and money limitations Communicating with customers about airflow issues Ethics around duct design Unique duct challenges with inverter-driven systems   Check out Joey's training, social media, and contact information at https://joejoehvac.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/10/202350 minutes, 13 seconds
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Business Round Table - Tersh, Peterson, Holt

This podcast episode contains some of the questions and topics from the Business Round Table at the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium. Panelists include Tersh Blissett, Luke Peterson, and Andy Holt. One of the most critical parts of HVAC business ownership is knowing when to grow your business (i.e., hiring more techs and incorporating standalone maintenance and install departments). Ultimately, we need to think about how many service calls we're assigning to each technician per day and how many customers we have to turn down due to a busy schedule. Getting family members involved in the business can also have a range of positive and negative effects on a business. Delegating is another important skill that can help you run an HVAC business smoothly and focus on ownership and management over your day-to-day tasks. You need to understand your business's core processes but can delegate tasks that take time away from developing your business. When it comes to economic issues like inflation, we need to be looking at our own costs and competitors' costs to set our prices and pay our employees appropriately for the economic climate. We can use indicators like the consumer price index to assist with pricing and setting pay rates. Tersh, Luke, Andy, and Bryan also discuss: Key performance indicators (KPIs) Maintenance agreement frequency Talent acquisition vs. vetting Attracting vs. poaching employees Merit-based raises vs. cost-of-living raises Working "in" the business vs. working "on" the business Hiring people to handle day-to-day tasks Using Loom or similar video instruction software Support systems in your interpersonal relationships Motivation for starting a business Starting a business from scratch vs. acquisitions Explaining the difference between bids and online retail prices   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/3/202348 minutes, 57 seconds
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Cap Tubes and Flow Facts - Short #171

In this short podcast, Bryan goes over some information about cap tubes (capillary tubes) and flow facts. Cap tubes are metering devices; they're long tubes with small diameters, and their flow rates are dictated by the tubing diameter size and tube length. Pistons and TXVs are some of the most common metering devices in residential HVAC, and flow restriction doesn't just happen at the metering device; distributors also contribute to the pressure drop and act like small capillary tubes in addition to the metering device. Older units, simple refrigerators, and window units are more likely to have capillary tubes as metering devices, as cap tubes are an easy and versatile use of small-gauge tubing. The diameter is the primary factor that influences the flow rate, and length is usually secondary. However, longer tubes cause the fluids to encounter more resistance (in the form of friction) as they flow from one end of the tube to the other; the longer the tube, the lower the flow rate. Longer tubes also cause the fluid velocity to decrease more than a short tube.  When you have long runs of small-diameter tubing, you can replace a few sections with larger-diameter tubing to improve the flow rate. Sometimes, the ends of cap tubes are in hard-to-reach places, so replacing middle sections with larger-diameter tubing will still help decrease the static pressure and friction in the tubing. Oil traps and risers may be smaller than other areas of tubing, and they have a larger pressure drop and more friction associated with them. (However, the smaller tubing also increases the fluid velocity.) The same principle applies to 1/4" vs. larger-diameter vacuum hoses.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/1/20239 minutes, 28 seconds
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Filter Driers and System Cleanup w/ Copeland

Jim Fultz and Jim Hagl from Copeland join the podcast to talk about filter driers and system cleanup. Filter driers come in many types and sizes; they typically go on the liquid line (bi-flow filter driers are used on heat pumps), but suction line filter driers also exist.  Copeland’s liquid line filter drier models include the EK (premium), BSL (smaller diameter), BOK (with HH desiccant to assist with burnout cleanup), and CU (copper spun). Bi-flow filter driers in Copeland’s lineup include the BFK and BSB categories. These liquid line filter driers protect the metering device and should typically be installed as close to the metering device as possible (with some exceptions for heat pump startups in heating mode). These filter driers typically need to be replaced anytime the system is opened for service, the pressure drop across the drier exceeds 3 PSI, or the system is wet.   Suction line filter driers in Copeland’s lineup include the ASD, SFD, and CSFD models, all of which come in different shapes and sizes for varying applications. The ASK suction line filter drier has activated carbon to assist with burnout cleanup. When used to assist with contamination cleanup, suction line filter driers must be taken out of the system within a few days. Jim F., Jim H., and Bryan also discuss: Copeland and Emerson brand realignment Filtration data  Myths about smaller-diameter filter driers Copper-spun drier uses and applications Ideal vs. accessible suction filter drier placement Desiccant considerations Filter drier selection best practices Moisture indicators Restricted filter driers Filter drier sizing and system charge Bi-flow driers in straight-cool systems Dealing with factory-installed filter driers Product names and suffixes Burnouts and oil Flowing nitrogen while brazing Additives and flushes   Check out Copeland’s filter driers at https://hvacrschool.com/copeland-driers.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/27/202354 minutes, 41 seconds
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So... What Do You Do? - Unconformed - Short #170

In this short episode, Bryan goes over the fourth chapter of his new book, Unconformed. The chapter is called "So... What Do You Do?" Parents always want to be proud of their children, but it seems as though children are more proud of children who attend college than take up apprenticeships. However, these feelings largely seep in due to peer expectations; we want our children to measure up to our friends' standards or success, not necessarily our own. Parents are also less likely to encourage their children to get into the trades and value the time and expertise of tradespeople. All jobs, even less prestigious jobs, matter and have a purpose. Society tends to devalue tradespeople and manual laborers, but those jobs do a great service to society. Nevertheless, the competitive drive between parents and our fear of failure makes us fall into these mindsets where we devalue manual labor. The media and family members also trap us in these expectations. Society runs on the ability of people to solve problems and innovate, which means that blue-collar work is necessary for society to function. Not to mention, popular media and DIY culture have also brought attention to the artistry of the skilled trades. These positive changes are important to the perception of blue-collar work, and we can accept (and encourage) a child's choice to find purpose in the skilled trades, not just blindly seek happiness. Bryan also covers: Networking Expectations vs. standards The pitfalls of happiness The merits of working with our hands   You can purchase Unconformed on Amazon's website HERE. Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/25/202313 minutes, 37 seconds
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Pipefitting Best Practices

This podcast is based on a Kalos meeting about pipefitting best practices, particularly in commercial refrigeration applications. It begins with a few words about quality workmanship by the Kalos founder and CEO, Robert Orr. Pipefitting consists of repairs and joining metals; when joining metals, we need to liquify the alloy and draw it into the joint via capillary action. When pipefitting, oxygen can present some problems by coating the inside of the pipe with oxides that can contaminate the system. We can reduce the likelihood of oxide formation by flowing nitrogen while brazing; purging nitrogen displaces the oxygen in the lines before brazing, and flowing keeps oxygen out during the brazing process. Tip selection will be based on the piping diameter; tips that are too small won't adequately heat the pipe, and tips that are too large will consume too much fuel. You'll also need to leak-check your torch tanks and ensure that you have the appropriate ratio of oxygen to acetylene by aiming for a neutral flame rather than a carburizing or oxidizing flame. After brazing, we need to perform a nitrogen pressure test to ensure that the system is leak-free. Then, once the pressure test is passed, we should evacuate the system to keep the system clean, dry, and tight. Bryan, Matthew, Roman, and Nathan also cover: Brazing vs. soldering Properties of base metals Alloy properties and appropriate uses Mineral oil vs. POE oil and cupric oxide Safety practices and PPE Preparing copper (sealing, deburring, etc.) Valve seating Penetration and the gaps between surfaces Base metal temperature indications Advantages of nitrogen for pressure testing Vacuum pump best practices Micron gauges   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/20/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 49 seconds
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Filter Driers and System Protection - Short #169

In this short episode, Bryan talks about filter driers and their important role in HVAC/R system protection, especially in accordance with Copeland's (formerly Emerson's) AE24-1105 R5. We can really start keeping our systems contaminant-free by handling tubing properly, purging and flowing nitrogen, and keeping copper shavings out of the tubing when deburring or reaming. Suction and liquid filter driers protect the system during operation and are designed for specific purposes. We typically don't install suction filter driers in residential systems unless we're fixing a system with compressor burnout or acid contamination; in those cases, we also want to make sure we replace accumulators and clean out the line set as well as we possibly can. Commercial refrigeration tends to have more rigorous contamination prevention protocols, including testing oil for acid and installing suction filter driers in everyday operation, due to the use of multiple compressors in a single system.  However, suction driers are recommended in ALL applications per AE24-1105. In many cases, we don't install them in systems because they can create a significant pressure drop in the suction line and damage the compressor, but suction filter driers can provide a net positive effect if we monitor them. We should install suction filter driers as close to the compressor(s) as possible, and we should cut them out when we need to remove them, not unsweat them. Bryan also covers: Liquid line filter drier placement Pressure drop across filter driers and replacement thresholds Burnout cleanup procedures Filter drier sizing Refrigerant additives Motor burnout in hermetic refrigerant-cooled compressors Electrical best practices   For more information about filter drier selection by model number, visit https://hvacrschool.com/copeland-driers.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/18/202317 minutes, 27 seconds
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Alex Meaney - HVAC Design Backwards, Forwards, and In Between

This podcast episode is one of Alex Meaney's HVACR Training Symposium presentations: HVAC Design Backwards, Forwards, and In Between. Load calculation factors in all three means of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. It doesn't directly tell you the tonnage; it just tells you how many BTUs (sensible and latent) are entering or leaving a structure. When designing systems after doing load calculations, we need to be mindful of industry standards and their pitfalls, as well as the climate conditions and the difficulty of obtaining manufacturer data. Equipment selection by tonnage is only part of the picture when it comes to HVAC design; we also need to factor in airflow and duct design, especially duct sizing. However, many rules of thumb and poorly explained terms are counterproductive to a thorough understanding of HVAC design. In some cases, the best way to design a system may seem "backward," especially when starting with blower selection instead of ductwork. Duct design is particularly difficult, especially when software identifies several problems with designs that seemed to look good on paper. However, the software points out areas where you can adjust the duct size and manage restrictions to allow the fan to do its job without being derated by friction. Alex also covers: Insulation and efficiency ratings CLTD Groups Tricky radiant gains and losses The relationship between BTUs and tons AHRI ratings Shortcomings of Ductulators in duct design education Pressure vs. friction in ductwork Static pressure vs. velocity pressure Measuring friction with pressure Regulations vs. reality Furnace static pressure range Differences between commercial and residential duct design Oversized and under-ducted systems Variable-capacity systems ACCA manuals and tables   Check out Alex Meaney's consultation business at https://www.meanhvac.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/13/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 59 seconds
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Santa Fe Panel with Andy Ask and Ken Gehring

This podcast is the Santa Fe Panel from the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium. The panel focused on dehumidification, was moderated by Nikki Krueger, and featured Andy Ask and Ken Gehring. "Matchmaking" a residence to the climate requires us to design and install equipment that keeps occupants healthy and comfortable. HVAC contractors need to focus on the dew points, especially as they remain high at night and in the shoulder seasons. Humidity loads tend to hold steady (even peak dew points), while sensible loads increase and drop, making it difficult to control latent heat loads the same way we control sensible loads. The equipment will typically be less efficient if you focus on long runtimes to remove latent heat under partial load conditions and maintain 50% humidity. Dehumidifier efficiency is determined on a pint per kilowatt basis, but a constantly running dehumidifier will do its job a lot more efficiently than one that starts and stops regularly. The dehumidifier adds heat to the house and should only come on when the HVAC system is having trouble maintaining the desired humidity load; the dehumidifier has a reheat effect, but the HVAC system will need to deal with the increased heat load. When you add a whole-house dehumidifier, adding a fresh air ventilation component is highly recommended. Nikki, Ken, and Andy also cover: Infiltration and exfiltration Variable-speed technology and supplemental dehumidification Fresh air ventilation Air conditioner vs. dehumidifier latent heat removal Net zero HVAC, electrification, and decarbonization initiatives Air mixing in the ductwork Standalone dehumidifiers Vapor pressure and buoyancy Sizing for peak dehumidification loads Dehumidifier supply and return tie-ins Static pressure and "injection" dehumidification Fan cycling   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/6/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 23 seconds
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Where to Place the Micron Gauge - Short #168

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about where to place the micron gauge during evacuation and how to think about micron gauge positioning. Evacuation (deep vacuum) doesn't remove solid contaminants, and vaporizing liquid water is a time-consuming process; its main purpose is to remove water vapor, air, and nitrogen gases from the HVAC/R system. When you pull down below 500 microns and hold that pressure, we can make sure we have a clean, dry, and tight (leak-free) system. As we started using R-410A and POE oil, water in the system became a much bigger issue than it was with mineral oil (it was never to have water in the system, but it breaks down POE oil). Before we start pulling a vacuum on the system, we need to attach our micron gauge to the pump while it's isolated to make sure the pump is working. A modern vacuum pump should pull down below 100 microns in 30-60 seconds; if your pump can't pull down to 100 microns in under a minute when isolated, then you'll want to change the oil (possibly multiple times). Be sure to change the oil regularly and store it properly. When you pull a vacuum on a system, you'll want to attach your micron gauge as far away from the pump as possible to get an accurate indicator of your vacuum. Use core remover tools to isolate the system and make sure the far side of the system is brought below 500 microns during evacuation. The time it takes to pull down a system and the time you'll hold the vacuum will depend on your application (residential vs. commercial).   Check out Review of Vacuum for Service Engineers (revised by Jim Bergmann and Bryan Orr, 2020) at https://www.trutechtools.com/accutools-review-of-vacuum-for-service-engineers.html.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/4/202310 minutes, 38 seconds
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From Resi Tech to Industry Leading Refrigeration Trainer w/ Brett Wetzel

Brett Wetzel joins the podcast to talk about his journey from resi tech to industry-leading refrigeration trainer. Brett is best known for his educational content, but he is also the manager of technical troubleshooting and training at CoolSys. The skills gap is widening, and CoolSys was inspired to create a solution to that problem. Brett's goal is to offer training that provides education and a sense of community all at once. Since he likes to keep his training simple and establish a solid foundation for his students, one of Brett's favorite training practices includes going over a system's P&ID diagram with his students before even looking at it. He focuses on classroom engagement and keeping trainees interested. Brett does regional training sessions and has written technical documentation to help technicians. As he has shifted from a field role to a full-time educator role, he has noticed that he has had more time at home. CoolSys focuses on commercial and industrial refrigeration, including system components, racks, and controls. The transition from residential HVAC to commercial HVAC and refrigeration requires an inquisitive mind and a drive to keep learning. Independent learners tend to do particularly well. There is an additional step that people will have to take when they move from fieldwork to education; communication skills and an ability to keep students engaged are crucial. Brett and Bryan also cover: CoolSys's training plans First lessons for refrigeration and HVAC trainees Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) in training New technologies and energy efficiency in CoolSys training Reading and independent learning The ever-changing nature of the HVAC/R trade Mentorship Practical skills and training CoolSys technical library   Check out CoolSys at https://coolsys.com/ to learn about the company and some job opportunities. You can also email Brett at [email protected] or listen to the Advanced Refrigeration Podcast (YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@advancedrefrigerationpodca9389).  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/29/202353 minutes, 8 seconds
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Oil Talk - Short #167

In this short podcast episode, Bryan gets into some oil talk, covering some common refrigerant oil terms and types. Esterification is the process by which organic acid and alcohol come together to form polyolester (POE) oil and water. Hydrolysis refers to the decomposition of a substance when it comes into contact with water; when POE mixes with water, it will break down into esters, organic acids, and alcohol. Once POE oil undergoes hydrolysis, the process can't be reversed to get the same original oil. POE oil is also hygroscopic; hygroscopicity refers to the ability of the oil to absorb moisture. Miscibility refers to the ability of an oil to mix with refrigerant and be carried with it. In the context of refrigerant oil, "polar" refers to a molecular structure with an uneven distribution of electrons; oils with polar structures attract water molecules. Solubility refers to how well one compound can dissolve into another. Mineral oil is a product of the distillation of crude oil and was common in systems that used CFC and HCFC refrigerants. Mineral oil isn't as miscible with new refrigerants that lack a chlorine molecule. Alkylbenzene (AB) is a synthetic oil used in some commercial refrigeration systems that is compatible with mineral oil. Polyolester (POE) oil is one of the most common synthetic oils we use in systems that use HFC refrigerants; its main downside is its high hygroscopicity and tendency to undergo hydrolysis. Polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil is common in automotive A/C systems (R-134A) and is more hygroscopic than POE oil but does not undergo hydrolysis. Polyvinyl ether (PVE) oil is used as an alternative to POE oil; it is more hygroscopic but does not undergo hydrolysis.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/27/20238 minutes, 24 seconds
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Megging a Scroll - Short #166

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about using a megohmmeter on a scroll compressor (or "megging" a scroll). Scroll compressors are among the most common compressor types nowadays, and they come with their unique needs and best practices. You can't pump them down into vacuums (in many cases, you can't do that anyway due to internal protections), run them in a vacuum, or run a high-voltage megohmmeter or hipot test. Scroll compressors differ from reciprocating compressors. A scroll compressor's motor is located at the bottom of the compressor, meaning it is immersed in refrigerant and oil when the system is operating AND when it is off; when the compressor is off and cold, there is a chance that there will be liquid refrigerant at the bottom. Compared to reciprocating compressors, scrolls tend to have a more compact and balanced design, and there could be a higher risk of internal arcing due to the tighter electrical tolerances associated with the design. Many inexpensive megohmmeters will say that any measurement below 10-20 megohms indicates a short, but some scrolls will have acceptable readings as low as 0.5 megohms to ground; these readings will typically show up on the smaller kilohm scale. You must only use a megohmmeter to ground, not from winding to winding. Moisture contamination, metallic debris, and lubrication issues can also cause a lower ohm reading than acceptable, so it's best to have historic data and track readings over time to make a diagnosis. Many modern multimeters can help you determine if a compressor is shorted to ground; you don't necessarily need a megohmmeter. You may also read the following tech tip to learn more: https://hvacrschool.com/scroll-compressor-pump-down-megohm-test-fusite-plugs/    Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/20/20239 minutes, 13 seconds
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Being an HVAC Creative

Matt Bruner joins the podcast to talk about what it's really like being an HVAC creative. Matt is a young HVAC business owner who has recently written several HVAC School tech tips and pursued creative interests in the trade. Being creative in any industry or aspect of life requires us to be aware of what's around us and think deeply about how things can be better. Creativity requires us to channel our dissatisfaction into finding a solution, not just complaining, similar to how children channel boredom into projects. While the industry relies on processes and procedures to establish consistent standards, an over-reliance on processes can remove opportunities for HVAC professionals to be creative in their careers. However, creative solutions still need to be based on a solid understanding of the scientific and safety fundamentals of the trade. In many cases, processes get better when people are allowed to be creative and tweak existing models and ways of doing. There is plenty of room for creativity in the design and installation of residential HVAC systems. Common problems, including the need for dehumidification, require creative solutions from smart people in the trade. Solving these challenges is fun for creative-minded people, especially those who acknowledge that they don't have all the answers. The HVAC industry has so many jobs that require creativity through hands-on problem-solving. Matt and Bryan also discuss: How Matt ended up in the HVAC industry "Poor" creativity Institutional and self-imposed constraints AI and data models What it really means to "do things better" Unteaching and unlearning bad habits Asking the right questions Self-awareness The evolution of "the right way" of doing things   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/15/202351 minutes, 16 seconds
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EER, SEER and TXVs - Short #165

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about TXVs and their impacts on energy efficiency ratings (EER and SEER). EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) is calculated based on fixed conditions (an outdoor temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit and an inside temperature of 80 degrees with 50% RH). EER is a ratio of cooling-only capacity in BTUs per hour to the total electrical input in watts. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the ratio of an HVAC system's cooling output during a typical cooling season to the seasonal electrical input in watts. Both energy efficiency ratios use non-proportional units (BTUs to watts), but SEER is supposed to account for a wide set of conditions (even though the climates of regional markets can vary quite wildly). EER2 and SEER2 are new standards based on updated equipment testing protocols with more realistic static pressures. TXVs and EEVs can modulate to control the amount of refrigerant going into the evaporator coil. TXVs maintain a set superheat at the evaporator coil outlet, which it detects with a sensing bulb mounted to the suction line. These sorts of modulating metering devices can boost system efficiency by adjusting the amount of refrigerant it feeds into the evaporator coil. Underfeeding can lead to inefficiency, and overfeeding can cause system damage. Non-bleed TXVs shut tight once the compressor shuts off, which prevents refrigerant migration during the off cycle and pressure equalization, thus protecting the compressor and reducing the cyclic degradation coefficient. The compressor may have to start a little bit harder, but the effects of the hard shutoff can improve the SEER rating by about 0.5. TXV systems are, overall, more efficient than systems fixed-orifice metering devices.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/13/202310 minutes, 31 seconds
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High Performance Maintenance w/ Jim Ball

Jim Ball from NCI joins the podcast to talk about high-performance maintenance contracts and agreements. A high-performance maintenance agreement requires you to take system measurements and present solutions to maximize performance accordingly and exceed customers' expectations, not just make assumptions about the performance parameters. Key measurements we should know include the charge levels, total external static pressure, filter & coil pressure drop, and CFM per ton. Many HVAC contractors and technicians don't really believe in maintenance procedures; some contractors merely want to keep customers or secure work during the shoulder months and don't aim to optimize the homeowners' systems. Maintenance procedures provide technicians and contractors the opportunity to improve the health and comfort of their customers. To perform a quality maintenance procedure, we need to establish company-wide processes that produce consistent results. When we standardize maintenance and installation procedures, we want to think about what an ideal system would look like and make our processes meet those expectations. Scheduling is an important aspect of maintenance agreements, and your ability to commit to a schedule can make or break your maintenance program. Pricing is also critical, and customers tend to be educated on their options; many of them understand that a higher price will often indicate higher standards. As we perfect our maintenance procedures and take advantage of technology, we can embrace monitoring in our maintenance programs. Jim and Bryan also discuss: Jim's history in the industry SEER ratings vs. real efficiency The value of historical measurements Craftsmanship and quality standards "Unteaching" poor practices Communication practices with customers Roleplay as a training tool Monitoring as the next step for high-performance maintenance programs   Learn more about NCI and high-performance HVAC at https://nationalcomfortinstitute.com/. You can email Jim at [email protected] or call him at (440)-670-8783.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/8/202357 minutes, 59 seconds
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Steve Coscia - HVAC Soft Skill Training Resources

This episode of the HVAC School podcast Steve Coscia's symposium presentation: HVAC Soft Skill Training Resources. Likability is a superpower in any job that requires you to interface with customers or students. Every word and mannerism your customer or student sees will matter, and it's important to be likable. Those impressions can heavily influence their decision-making. Making a good first impression is one of the most important areas where we can focus our soft skills, and being on time is an easy way to make a good first impression on customers. When we are pleasant and convey mastery of our craft, we become more likely to earn appreciation and respect from customers and fellow tradespeople. Delegating the authority of the class is a soft skill that is important for instructors, as it encourages participation and lets a student be recognized by their peers. Telling a "signature" story, using props, and making the classroom interactive also help you convey useful information to your students and keep them interested. The objective is to get students to talk, and applying the "rule of 10" with these methods should help keep students' attention. Whether you're leading an employee meeting or training a class, don't be afraid to embrace your unique brand of teaching or leadership. Steve also covers: Lessons learned as a writer and instructor "Overpreparation" Humility Using action-oriented language and being honest Cleanliness and organization skills Sharing information with coworkers The Silo Effect Editorializing and saying too much Using proper grammar and positive words Congruency Integrity, self-control, and proactivity Buying time and convenience-oriented customers   Learn more about Steve's training at https://www.coscia.com/, and be sure to check out his training series on ESCO Institute's HVACR Learning Network at https://hvacr.elearn.network/pages/coscia-communications.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/6/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 4 seconds
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I Installed an A2L and Lived to Tell About It!

Roman Baugh returns to the podcast to talk about the time he installed an A2L system and lived to tell the tale. Roman used most of his same R-410A tools to install the first A2L-based ductless mini-split in Florida. Flare blocks, wrenches, and torque wrenches will all stay the same; you just have to be sure that your vacuum pumps and recovery machines are rated for use on A2L refrigerants. A2L-based mini-splits use flared fittings with no brazing necessary; this is currently the A1 status quo.  Purging and flowing with nitrogen will be required of A2L systems. Purging refers to a higher flow rate and flowing refers to a very low flow rate (2-5 standard cubic feet per hour). If a pipe may have refrigerant inside of it, we will need to cut the pipe with a copper cutter, not use a torch. You will need to store A2L refrigerant tanks upright and locked in your van. You'll want the tanks to avoid being banged around or struck by other objects in the van. Although A2Ls are non-toxic, they still displace oxygen if a valve opens. Bryan and Roman also discuss: "Mildly" or "slightly" flammable Purging vs. flowing nitrogen Deep evacuation Flammable substances in the automotive industry Will there be reverse-threaded connections? The ever-changing HVAC industry Lower charge amounts   Resources: You can learn more about A2L refrigerants in general on the ESCO Institute e-learning network by checking out training courses at https://hvacr.elearn.network/.  Check out Opteon's new A2L refrigerant, XL41 (R-454B), at https://hvacrschool.com/xl41. You can find Daikin's R-32 resources at https://www.r32reasons.com/.    Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/1/202330 minutes, 12 seconds
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Motor Speed - Short #164

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about motor speed and other basic electrical topics as they relate to motors in HVAC equipment. In a typical single-phase PSC-type (induction-driven) motor, the speed is primarily determined by the electrical cycle rate, also known as the hertz. The hertz represents the speed at which the electrical current changes direction (positive to negative) per second; in the USA, that number is typically 60 hertz. Unless we're dealing with ECMs and VFD-driven motors, the motor speed will be partially influenced by the hertz or frequency as determined by the utility company or a generator. Motor speed is also determined by the number of magnetic poles in the motor. A motor doesn't make a complete revolution per cycle; a cycle only refers to the distance between two poles. The more poles we have, the shorter the distance needs to turn per cycle. A two-pole motor rotates all the way every cycle, resulting in 3600 RPM under no-slip conditions (synchronous speed). A four-pole motor has half the RPM, and an eight-pole motor has 1/4 of the RPM of a two-pole motor. Speed taps add winding resistance between run and common to create slip and slow the motor. A six-pole motor has 1200 RPM synchronous, but 1075 is the effective speed with slip factored in. Each speed has a different level of winding resistance, which slows the motor as you move from high to low; the lower-speed tap has higher resistance than high-speed taps. ECMs and VFD-driven systems convert the frequency and don't depend on the electrical frequency from the utility or generator.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/30/20239 minutes, 31 seconds
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Growing in Productivity and Confidence as a Tech w/ Refrigeration Mentor

Trevor Matthews returns to the podcast to talk about growing in productivity and confidence as a tech to avoid feeling stuck in your career. They talk about personal development within your organization and in communities or training courses beyond your organization. Confidence and productivity work hand in hand, and techs can grow in both areas when they prioritize the one that matters most to them. In many cases, repetition helps build confidence, especially in the trades and other professions where you work with your hands. Scheduling is another strategy that improves your productivity, which can boost your confidence in the long run. As humans, we tend to fixate on fears and problems. We can build our confidence by reframing our fears, giving ourselves (and others) grace when we make errors, and focusing on building our skills to work through challenges. It's also important to find people in your organization who will uplift you, not hold you back. Developing unhealthy habits is a possible consequence of over-focusing on work, and it could be detrimental to your personal and professional life. Your physical and mental health are also important to your productivity and progress.   Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Using a calendar to manage productivity Learning new skills to build confidence Communicating with your employer and building a relationship Training programs Self-assessment and going out of your comfort zone Caring about yourself to care about others Some of Bryan and Trevor's favorite books on the topic: Soundtracks by Jon Acuff Atomic Habits by James Clear Good to Great by Jim Collins   Check out Trevor's Refrigeration Mentor program at https://refrigerationmentor.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/25/202339 minutes
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The Art of Unteaching w/ MeanHVAC

This podcast episode is Alex Meaney's 2023 HVACR Training Symposium session: "The Art of Unteaching." We may have flawed understandings of HVAC concepts, including the understanding that "heat rises." Our world is constantly shaped by the things we see and believe, and we are hard-wired to defend our observations and beliefs if we feel that those are threatened by new information. Instructors need to be sneaky about "unteaching" flawed ways of understanding the scientific principles of HVAC. When we communicate concepts to others, we need to watch our language and make sure our messages are clear; the subtext is as important, if not more important, than the actual material. Humility also goes a long way when teaching, though teachers need to be especially careful of imposter syndrome.  Teachers can be most effective when they find a point of common ground between what their students already know and what they want to teach their students; avoiding jargon is a good way to make sure everyone can start on the same page before you teach them the vocabulary. When teaching, think about filling in the gaps without students realizing that those gaps have been filled; some teaching techniques, like inversion, can help with this process. Group settings also make it easier for students to process new information. Alex also covers: Pitfalls of the 12,000-BTU rule Bridge vs. bedrock foundation Pedantism and cognitive dissonance Repeating and rephrasing answers The "forgot to know it" approach Humility and the "reset button" Fallacies and heuristics Being able to understand when you're wrong   Check out Alex's design consultation work at https://www.meanhvac.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/18/202348 minutes, 7 seconds
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Floating vs. Fixed Suction and Head - Short #163

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about compression ratio and efficiency, particularly how floating or fixed suction and head pressure affect those things. Compression ratio (absolute head pressure divided by absolute suction pressure) closely correlates to efficiency in all sorts of compression-refrigeration HVAC/R systems; the most efficient systems have high mass flow with less compressor work. High compression ratios indicate a greater differential between the head and suction pressures. A lower compression ratio is desirable, but the number has to be realistic; a compression ratio of 1 indicates that the system is off. Medium-temp refrigeration compression ratios are typically around 3:1, whereas low-temp refrigeration can have higher compression ratios (6:1). In commercial refrigeration applications, we can help control the compression ratio with floating suction and head strategies. Floating the suction and head pressures allow the equipment to achieve lower compression ratios and higher equipment efficiency. Old strategies for controlling compression ratio would involve having a fixed evaporator temperature and suction pressure. In a parallel rack system, floating suction allows the suction pressure to float up when the case maintains temperature; this strategy helps close the gap between the absolute suction and absolute head pressures and reduces the compression ratio.  Floating suction strategies allow the suction to "float" up by allowing the evaporator coil temperature to rise a little bit when the box temperature is under control. Floating head strategies, on the other hand, allow the head pressure to float down in low-ambient conditions. We can look at ambient temperature and discharge pressure to determine how much we can float down the head pressure.    Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/16/202313 minutes, 11 seconds
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Humidity Utopia w/ Nikki & Bryan

This podcast episode is Nikki Krueger (Santa Fe Dehumidifiers) and Bryan's 2023 HVACR Training Symposium session about how we can optimize dehumidification and efficiency to create an HVAC design and humidity utopia. While we attempt to achieve comfort and high indoor air quality in humid climates, we may find challenges integrating these with the HVAC system and getting customers to understand the need for proper dehumidification. Older homes that are built "leaky" allow for uncontrolled infiltration and exfiltration, but newer constructions are a lot tighter and rely on mechanical ventilation to control where the outdoor air comes from and make sure it is properly filtered and distributed. We deal with both sensible and latent BTUs in a home, and we can't treat them as though they're all equal. Many high-efficiency systems have high sensible heat ratios (SHRs) and are designed to remove sensible BTUs very efficiently, but they're not adequate at removing latent BTUs. Ideally, we would rely on an A/C system or heat pump to dehumidify the air in cooling mode before adding a dehumidifier. However, some of the systems that are best equipped to handle high latent loads will be less efficient. If you wish to install supplemental humidification, the ideal design will have a dedicated return and tie into the main HVAC supply duct. Nikki and Bryan also discuss: Willis Carrier's real invention Strategies for reducing conductive, convective, and radiant gains Understanding relative humidity and dew point Design loads Electrification and energy efficiency incentives Adiabatic heating and cooling Single-stage vs. multi-stage equipment Dehumidification for ductless mini-splits Supplemental dehumidifier designs   Learn more about Santa Fe Dehumidifiers at https://www.santa-fe-products.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/11/202356 minutes, 1 second
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What the Flux? - Short #162

This is the episode for you if you've ever asked, "What the flux?" In this short podcast, Bryan explains the basics of flux in soldering and brazing, as well as magnetism. Flux means "flow." In HVAC, "flux" may have two meanings. It may refer to the substance that helps the molten alloy flow and bond to base metals more effectively when you're soldering or brazing. However, flux may also refer to magnetic flux, which is the lines of force that emanate from a magnet; this concept is important in inductive loads like transformers. In soldering, brazing, and welding, flux is a powder-paste or liquid that you apply to the base metal. You usually apply it directly to the male side of the base metal, or it may be embedded in the brazing alloy. Flux prevents oxides (like rust or the black flakes, cupric oxide) from forming on the surface you're brazing, which commonly happens at higher temperatures. Flux helps you create a proper bond, but it doesn't eliminate the need to clean the base metal before brazing. You typically don't need flux when you use silver-phosphorus or phosphorus-copper brazing rods for copper-to-copper brazing; the phosphorus acts as a fluxing agent, and using flux may increase the risk of contamination. It's also important to remove the flux from the metal after brazing because it may cause pitting; you may use a brush and/or a wet rag. Flux is useful when you use rods with high silver content or when you have other base metals; the appropriate flux will depend on the base metal, especially if you're soldering aluminum.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/9/202310 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Impacts of Duct Leakage w/ Steve Rogers

Steve Rogers from The Energy Conservatory (TEC) returns to the podcast to discuss the impacts of duct leakage on occupant comfort and HVAC system performance. Duct leakage has more significant negative effects in heat pump systems than in furnace systems, especially in climates with high heating, cooling, or latent loads, due to pressure imbalances and moisture problems. You can measure duct leakage by masking off all supply and return registers, attaching a calibrated fan, and running the duct blaster to pressurize the duct work to 25 Pascals.  Exhaust-only ventilation presents many of the same problems as duct leakage, particularly in the humid South. The duct leakage allowable by code (in Florida) is almost equivalent to a 50-CFM bathroom fan. Leakage often happens on the supply side, and it is important to determine whether the leakage is happening on the supply or return side; you may lose significant capacity on the supply side, and you may lose a little less capacity if the leakage is primarily on the return side. That capacity, however, is often heavily latent, leading to potential moisture problems (though less so in cold climates). Duct leakage may go outside or merely into an unconditioned space within the home; you can test the duct leakage outside with a duct blaster and a blower door simultaneously. Steve and Bryan also discuss: Duct leakage problem differences in the North and South Regulations and their effects on changeout practices Using powered flow hoods and a TrueFlow grid to measure duct leakage Duct leakage allowable by code Home construction types and duct configuration Envelope leakage Leakage testing and pricing Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP)   Learn more about TEC at https://energyconservatory.com/.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/4/202349 minutes, 49 seconds
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Launch of the Sensi Touch 2 Thermostat

Tom Lorenz from Sensi joins the podcast to talk about the launch of the Sensi Touch 2 thermostat. The Sensi Touch 2 smart thermostat is compatible with room sensors, which makes it an efficient and effective thermostat. Smart thermostats are becoming more common in homes, especially as we focus on HVAC efficiency. Designers are aiming to make smart thermostats user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, easy to install, and driven by data (via sensors). Installation is easy for contractors, as it relies on push terminals and cleanly covers up the previous thermostat's installation site. The Sensi Touch 2 requires a common wire, but it has easy-to-use push terminals that allow wires to click into place. It also has dedicated accessory terminals for add-on equipment like dehumidifiers. You can also pair the Sensi Touch 2 with its respective app to program the thermostat. Smart maintenance automatically alerts homeowners about poor performance or efficiency. These sorts of alerts can offer peace of mind for the homeowner. The room sensors allow the Sensi Touch 2 to manage home comfort by collecting data from several locations of the house; you can sync up to 15 room sensors to the Sensi Touch 2 thermostat. As with other Sensi thermostats, the Sensi Touch 2 has contractor branding capabilities. You can get your company name and number programmed into the main display so that the customers know who to call whenever they need something. You can learn more at procontractorbranding.com.  Tom and Bryan also discuss: History of Emerson, White-Rodgers, and Sensi controls Personal data and privacy concerns with smart technology Smart thermostat design and aesthetics Energy Star certification Sensi Lite (coming soon) Warranty information   Learn more about the Sensi Touch 2 at https://hvacrschool.com/sensitouch2.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/2/202322 minutes
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Why and How to Create an Internal Training Program W/ Eugene S.

Eugene Silberstein from ESCO Group returns to the podcast to discuss why and how to create an internal training program for your HVAC/R company. HVAC/R has so many niches, and information and practices are always evolving, so lifelong learning is necessary for the industry. In-house training is a form of education that can come with many benefits, including control over scheduling, building community within the organization, and convenience. However, creating an in-house training program also comes with many challenges, including time and money expenses. For an internal training program to work, there needs to be a clear commitment to lifelong education that is ingrained in the culture. That could include bringing in other educators, setting up mentorship programs, and partnering with local trade schools. Unlike an external training program, an in-house training program also allows you to tailor education to your technicians' goals and needs. A good in-house training program creates an environment of psychological safety; it allows trainees to ask questions without feeling singled out or judged. Some people who know topics well aren't the best trainers; trainers need to know how to teach others, which means understanding how the human mind works. Commitment is ultimately what makes or breaks an internal training program. If your trainees can see that you are investing in them consistently, they will be more likely to give and get the most out of the training program. Eugene and Bryan also discuss: The hunger and need for HVAC/R education Benefits and drawbacks of external training Using mistakes and callbacks as learning experiences Educators who make trainees feel safe Education, engagement, and entertainment Will technicians leave your company if you train them? Casual but deliberate training   Learn more about ESCO Group's HVACR learning network at https://hvacr.elearn.network/.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/27/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 11 seconds
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When Subcooling is Meaningless - Short #161

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about the times when subcooling is meaningless. It is important to understand subcooling fully before using it as a charging or diagnostic method, particularly in refrigeration systems. When we need to charge TXV systems in residential HVAC, many technicians rely on subcooling to set the charge. However, refrigeration systems don't quite work the same way; charging a refrigeration system by subcooling may lead you to overcharge the system. We take subcooling on the liquid line between the condenser and the metering device. The condenser takes superheated vapor and rejects heat. This process turns the superheated vapor refrigerant into a liquid-vapor mixture midway through and subcools the liquid refrigerant at the bottom of the condenser. That liquid "stacks" at the bottom of the condenser. Adding more refrigerant will cause more liquid refrigerant to stack up at the end of the condenser and increase subcooling. These conditions can cause an increase in head pressure. However, many refrigeration systems have receivers between the metering device and the condenser. Excess refrigerant gets stored in the receiver; it doesn't stack up in the condenser, and it doesn't contribute to additional subcooling. As the liquid line fills and the metering device restricts, the liquid goes into the receiver, not the condenser. Subcooling won't change much until the receiver is full, which is a major problem; receivers should only be up to 80% full, even when pumped down. So, we rely on sight glasses or receiver-level monitors to determine the charge, not subcooling. The goal is to keep the sight glass clear, meaning there is a full line of liquid going to the metering device. (However, sight glasses will also be clear when the system is off or empty.)   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/25/20239 minutes, 39 seconds
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Solving Work Life Imbalance w/ Craig M

Craig M (AC Service Tech) returns to the podcast to talk about solving work-life imbalance, especially for HVAC/R technicians who have children and families of their own. Our actions tend to be driven by our priorities, which vary at different stages of our lives. Someone's work-life balance could also vary depending on different parts of the year. When we let the right people into our lives and are surrounded by supportive communities, we can reconfigure our personal and career trajectories to keep them in line with our priorities. To create a healthy work-life balance, we must be open to investing in others and letting others invest in us. "Balance" implies a constant state of evenness, but for people who work many hours, own a business, or have a family, their time may not be perfectly balanced at all times. That sort of variety presents a challenge, but it also presents opportunities for us to invite wise counsel and maintain communication to make sure we're on the same page as the important people in our lives. We are imperfect, and in many cases, we make mistakes when we do things we shouldn't do or fail to do things we should do. When we make those mistakes or bad things happen, we can think about practical measures we can immediately implement in our lives to make them more fulfilling in terms of our long-term vision. Craig and Bryan also discuss: Providing for one's family Seeking counsel and wisdom from others How lifestyles and priorities shift as children grow up Intentionality and short-term vs. long-term thinking Making the "right" decision Letting people struggle but supporting them Emotional maturity Authenticity Bringing positivity to communication and relationships   Learn more about Craig's books and other educational resources at https://www.acservicetech.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/20/202356 minutes, 48 seconds
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ROT Can Cause Duct Issues - Short #160

In this short podcast, Bryan explains how rules of thumb (ROT) can cause duct issues. He talks about the role of friction rate in duct design as well as its intent and limitations. Friction rate is a value located on duct calculation tools, including Ductulators. We use friction rate to predict the operating static pressure of the system, but it is often misapplied when people design their ductwork around rules of thumb. The friction rate is expressed in inches of water column ("WC), which we also use to measure static pressure. However, the operational static pressure and friction rate are NOT the same things. Ductulators provide information about friction rate based on 100 feet of straight ductwork in the size selected, which we almost never see in the field; fittings and turns add effective length (EL), so the total effective length (TEL) is often more than 100 feet. When duct designers apply rules of thumb, like a 0.1" friction rate, and apply it to the CFM, they don't consider the actual length of the duct. So, the ducts are often undersized and don't properly account for the actual resistance to airflow. If you want to stop using rules of thumb, ACCA Manual D and related software can help you get more precise design parameters and account for other restrictions.   The following tech tips contain more information and specific equations to help you find the total effective length: The Friction Rate Chart (and What it Means), What the Heck is a Friction Rate? (Eric Kaiser), How to Determine the Friction Rate for Residential Duct Design (Neil Comparetto).   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/18/20236 minutes, 58 seconds
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Heart of a Teacher w/ Craig M.

Craig Migliaccio (AC Service Tech) returns to the podcast to talk about what it means to have the heart of a teacher. Craig discovered his passion for teaching while instructing apprentices on the job, and he went into institutionalized teaching from there. He chose to overcome several administrative obstacles to become eligible as a teacher at technical schools, and that perseverance is one aspect of the "heart of a teacher." One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is the investment in others. For Craig, HVAC is a tool for supporting someone's family, and a teacher can find a sense of purpose in helping people be better HVAC practitioners. When good teachers invest in their students or apprentices, they give those people a reason to take pride in their work. The job of a teacher isn't to give students the answer, which can be frustrating for students and the teachers of those frustrated students. People who have the heart of a teacher allow students to learn things themselves and be frustrated when they don't receive the answer immediately. Teachers ultimately care and want to keep improving, and they get their students to ask questions. The most important aspect of teaching is getting students to retain knowledge and build on it, and many students retain knowledge when they get to ask questions on their own and apply their knowledge. Craig and Bryan also discuss: Craig's experience with teaching licensure The intrinsic desire to share knowledge or skills Investing in others during a labor shortage Switching mindsets Monologuing vs. asking questions Continuous improvement as a teacher Impostor syndrome and teaching Making educational content more valuable Limitations of video/audio education   Learn more about Craig's books and other educational resources at https://www.acservicetech.com/.  Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/13/202338 minutes, 51 seconds
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Saturation can be CONFUSING - Short #159

In this short podcast episode, Bryan explains why saturation can be CONFUSING and clears up some common misconceptions. Saturation applies to dehumidification and refrigerant inside the system. Generally, saturation is the state at which a substance can no longer hold or absorb any more of another substance. When air is saturated with water vapor and can hold no more, it is at the dew point or 100% relative humidity; it will condense on any surface below the air temperature. Air isn't like a sponge that absorbs water vapor; saturation deals with vapor pressure, particularly the pressure exerted by a vapor in thermodynamic equilibrium with its condensed phases in a closed system.  Dehumidification is the process by which we remove moisture from the air; this process improves comfort across a significant portion of North America during the summer months, and it prevents fungal growth inside the home. Air in a dehumidifier or an HVAC system in cool mode makes contact with a surface at a temperature below the dew point. So, moisture comes out of the air and condenses on the coil. Colder evaporator coils, which result from longer runtimes, are more effective at removing moisture. Inside a system, the refrigerant in the evaporator boils as it absorbs heat. The refrigerant can absorb a lot of heat due to the heat required to change state, also known as latent heat (compared to sensible heat, which is the heat required to raise the temperature of a substance). Until the refrigerant completely boils off, it is at saturation. Pressure also dictates the saturation point, and we use refrigerants that can boil under the appropriate temperature and pressure conditions for the HVAC equipment we're working with.   Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/11/202318 minutes, 8 seconds
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Working on Ventilation in Humid Climates w/ HAVEN

Kevin Hart from HAVEN returns to the podcast to talk about ventilation in humid climates and some best practices for working on systems that focus on the V in HVAC. HAVEN focuses on IAQ management with the use of software technology. HAVEN started off with its central air monitor, and the company then developed a central air controller to help customers make their homes healthier. Fresh-air ventilation is one IAQ, but humid climates make it tricky to bring that air in; dumping “fresh” air into the structure without taking extra precautions can lead to high indoor humidity and even microbial growth.  ERVs, HRVs, and ventilating dehumidifiers are some traditional ventilation strategies for various climates; exhaust ventilation is also quite common but can pull hot, humid air through the building envelope. HAVEN is creating a more templated approach to ventilation; HAVEN uses whole-home in-duct monitoring and local weather data to get ideas of the conditions inside and outside the home to tailor fresh-air ventilation to each individual system’s needs. HAVEN has partnered with several ventilating dehumidifier manufacturers, including Santa Fe and AprilAire; many of these manufacturers also use filtration to control the quality of incoming fresh air. Kevin and Bryan also discuss: HAVEN’s journey during the COVID-19 pandemic Chemical interactions in our homes (VOCs and CO2) Exfiltration and infiltration The problem with industry standards and regulations Appropriate climates for ERVs, HRVs, and ventilating dehumidifiers Using dew point to control indoor and outdoor parameters Energy savings with HAVEN’s technology Does a house need to “breathe?” HAVEN app   You can learn more about HAVEN’s offerings for HVAC professionals at https://pro.haveniaq.com/ and get a discount on HAVEN’s product bundle at https://www.trutechtools.com/ by using the coupon code haven2022. Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/30/202337 minutes, 26 seconds
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HVAC Performance Summit w/ Dominick G.

Dominick Guarino from NCI joins the podcast to talk about the High-Performance HVAC Summit, an upcoming event hosted by NCI from April 17–20. The National Comfort Institute (NCI) is a training organization that helps technicians learn crucial skills and succeed through high-performance contracting. High-performance contracting is based on the mindset of “don’t just promise performance; prove it.” To maximize technicians’ potential, NCI teaches technicians how to test equipment properly and monetize their skills. Techs can then use their knowledge to teach the homeowner about the system and solve problems with sales; they can earn money while being solutions-oriented. NCI’s High-Performance HVAC Summit is a training event geared toward HVAC business owners and contractors. It started as a membership conference for education and networking, and it has since expanded to include like-minded HVAC professionals from all walks of life. Workshops are led by a mix of contractors and NCI staff, and there are breakout sessions and other various session types.  This year’s High-Performance Summit theme will be “It All Starts With Service.” The four focal points of the workshops will be lead generation through service and maintenance, CO safety, the lead handoff from service to sales, and maintenance agreements. One more session will focus on hands-on testing, called “Low-Performance Town” this year, and there will be a panel about the future of high-performance HVAC. Dominick and Bryan also discuss: Dominick and NCI’s history in the industry High-performance maintenance Consumers who do their research The HVACR Training Symposium High-Performance Summit Awards Banquet NCI’s collaboration with other industry leaders and organizations   Visit https://www.gotosummit.com/ to learn more about the High-Performance Summit. If you decide to register for the summit, type HVACSCHOOL in the coupon code section for a $100 discount. Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/23/202345 minutes, 40 seconds
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Training, Combustion and More w/ Tony G.

In this podcast from AHR 2023, Tony Gonzalez from Fieldpiece joins Bryan to talk about training, combustion, and more. Fieldpiece has a new combustion analyzer that reduces the cost of tool ownership and maximizes the tool's uptime, namely by using a long-lasting sensor. The combustion analyzer's oxygen and CO sensors seal up when the combustion analyzer is turned off, which pauses degradation. The sensors are also field-replaceable and come with a 4-year warranty. The CAT85 also has a built-in dual-port manometer (which can measure static pressure) and can measure a live draft pressure during combustion analysis. Some common misconceptions exist around combustion analyzer sensor lifespans and calibration. The sensor life refers to how long a sensor can output a signal to generate a reading; it doesn't refer to the accuracy of the sensor at the end of its life. Calibration keeps the sensors accurate, especially because sensor accuracy tends to degrade over time. To get the most out of your sensor, yearly calibration is recommended. Fieldpiece is also launching its ambassador program, which is a network of independent trainers with field knowledge who have been trained to become Fieldpiece product experts. Those ambassadors then train contractors and technicians on behalf of Fieldpiece. Tony and Bryan also discuss: Fieldpiece's sensor calibration process Water freezing in combustion analyzer traps Distinguishing your company from the competition with superior tools Technical training from Fieldpiece Fieldpiece leak detectors and new A2L refrigerants Infrared vs. heated diode leak detector sensors   Learn more about Fieldpiece tools at https://www.fieldpiece.com/ or ask about training by emailing [email protected].  Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/14/202322 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Future of Refrigerants is Here With Opteon XL41

In this podcast from AHR 2023, Brandon Marshall from Chemours and Chris Forth from JCI talk about the future of refrigerants and Opteon XL41 (R-454B). Refrigerant regulations are changing to pave the way for lower-GWP refrigerants, but M1 is also in full swing. M1 refers to the U.S. Department of Energy's implementation of the new efficiency standards for A/C units and heat pumps (SEER2, EER2, etc.). These standards changed the equipment testing procedure to match field conditions more closely. Opteon is the next-generation portfolio of low-GWP refrigerants for Chemours as a successor to the legacy refrigerants in the Freon product line. These refrigerants are a response to the HFC phasedown outlined in the AIM Act. JCI chose to use Opteon XL41, an HFO, for its equipment due to Opteon XL41's low GWP compared to R-32 and because of the similar operating pressures and temperatures to R-410A. A2Ls are a permanent change in the industry, and their safety considerations and best practices are here to stay. However, even though A2Ls are more flammable than A1 refrigerants, they are nowhere near as flammable as A3 refrigerants. Just about any refrigerant can propagate flame under the right conditions (including A1s), so A2Ls are only a little bit more flammable than those. Brandon, Chris, and Bryan also discuss: Brandon and Chris's industry experience The transition from CFCs to HCFCs to HFCs Refrigerant reclamation Upcoming GWP limits  Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) A2L refrigerant product testing Staying up to date on A2L training resources Some of the prominent flammable refrigerant trainers Smuggled and counterfeit refrigerants   Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/9/202334 minutes, 23 seconds
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MeasureQuick is EXPLODING with Jim & Joe

In this podcast from AHR 2023, Jim Bergmann and Joe Medosch talk about measureQuick and the ways it's EXPLODING with growth and new features. They also talk about heat pumps, electrification, and other hot topics in the industry. Jim Bergmann recently released an open letter about heat pumps on LinkedIn; he addressed the shortcomings of the industry from a skill standpoint. The lack of training and standards may be mitigated with proper training (and an understanding of building science fundamentals) or by embracing hybrid systems. Heat pumps may also perform relatively poorly during extreme weather events and may not manage temperature swings well. MeasureQuick has recently been working with ACCA and formed other partnerships to allow for standardization (for companies and the industry as a whole). More companies are also integrating with measureQuick, especially TEC and their TrueFlow Grid; accuracy across brands tends to be pretty consistent, and measureQuick allows you to mix and match tools. The customer-facing side of measureQuick has also received some development, which allows the customer to see the value and quality of their installation. MeasureQuick is keeping up with the growing pains by doing constant testing. Joe and Jim make sure the user experience is seamless, intuitive, and free of problems or inconveniences. Jim, Joe, and Bryan also discuss: Fixing the building envelope Heat pump vs. gas furnace comfort Energy Star certification for installations measureQuick user base milestones Industry leaders, supporters, and partnerships New measureQuick workflows Joe Medosch's role at measureQuick The challenges of the HVAC trade Technology challenges for measureQuick's users Free and paid measureQuick features   Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/7/202335 minutes, 6 seconds
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Infiltration Skeletons Behind Closed Doors w/ Genry

Genry Garcia returns to the podcast to talk about pressures in the building envelope, namely the infiltration skeletons behind closed doors. When doing load calculations (Manual J), we need to know how much of the heat load, especially the latent heat load, comes from leakage in the building envelope and the ducts. Opening/closing doors and windows can also worsen the issues that stem from infiltration due to upsetting the balance of pressures in the home. Smoke pencils and other similar tools can give you an idea of the pressure in a home and how it could change when doors open or close. Since there is a lot of room for inaccuracy in extreme climates (especially those with high latent loads), many HVAC systems are oversized and underperform. Some building design features also exacerbate problems presented by oversized HVAC systems. To get the data we need to design systems that mitigate those issues, we need to do a blower door test. Downsizing the tonnage in retrofits or replacements usually has advantages, but it must be done right, and customers may not always want to do that. It's the contractor's responsibility to give them a choice and educate them about the options and what the thorough diagnostic process looks like, including balancing the home and checking the pressure in relation to the outdoors. Genry and Bryan also discuss: Positive and negative pressure in certain rooms Exhaust ventilation and pressurization Using See Stack to see differences in loads Leaving the fan in the "on" position Useful tools Variables in lab-based testing and field testing Getting hung up on the 3 Pascals rule of thumb Leaky rooms vs. whole-home leakage   Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/2/202347 minutes, 41 seconds
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Understanding Leak Detectors With Inficon

In this episode recorded live at AHR Expo 2023, Nick from INFICON joins Bryan to talk about leak detectors and how we can improve our understanding of them. Some leak detectors, including the INFICON Stratus, measure concentrations in PPM (parts per million). When measuring PPM, we have to keep in mind that it doesn't indicate the size of the leak or leak rate, but it does help us pinpoint the leak location. In some cases, we also have to watch for automatic zeroing capabilities. Leak detectors come in many varieties, including heated-diode, ultrasonic, and infrared; each type has unique maintenance needs. Heated-diode leak detectors are sensitive, but their sensors wear off with frequent use and will require replacement. Infrared leak detectors use infrared absorption and don't degrade over time the way heated-diode leak detectors do. An ultrasonic leak detector picks up the sound of refrigerant and air leaking out of a hole to pinpoint the leak. It's a good idea to approach leak detection with a plan, including starting high on the coil and moving down (because refrigerant is heavier than air and may set off the leak detector below the actual leak). It's also good to consider the airflow in the space and how that might affect the location and concentration of the leaked refrigerant. Nick and Bryan also discuss: Pressure, hole shape, and leak rate Understanding tool maintenance Infrared leak detector usage and considerations Common causes of leak detector failure D-TEK product line CO2 and hydrocarbon sensors for leak detectors D-TEK Stratus modes (cloud hunting and pinpoint) Applications for D-TEK Stratus leak detectors "False" positives   Learn more about INFICON at https://www.inficon.com/.  Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/28/202330 minutes, 25 seconds
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Making Cold Climate Heat Pumps Work w/ Copeland and White Rodgers

In this episode recorded live at AHR Expo 2023, Dustin and Jim from Copeland/White-Rodgers join Bryan to talk about the use of heat pumps in cold climates. They talk about the history of heat pump innovation and talk about changes to come. Variable-speed and two-stage compressors, as well as advanced controls, make it easier for contractors to control sizing and for heat pumps to perform to acceptable standards in cooler climates. Contractors in cold climates also rely on dual-fuel models that use electric and gas heat, which makes it easier for the system to move the desired amount of heat. Variable-speed and two-stage compressors help the system deal with different heating and cooling capacities; in cooling mode, these technologies can also help with latent removal if the blower is also able to vary with the compressor.  Advanced controls, especially universal controls, also help with defrost management, a key component of heat pump performance. When defrost is managed effectively, customers can yield energy savings. The White-Rodgers universal defrost control comes with coil and outdoor temperature sensors (thermistors) to determine when the unit is ice-bound; it also has a thermostat that can control second-stage heat. Dustin, Jim, and Bryan also discuss: Electrification and heat pump sales Vapor injection and compression ratio control Freq drives White-Rodgers universality and nomenclature Timed vs. demand defrost Electric heat vs. gas/oil heat costs WR Mobile app Multi-volt contactors (White-Rodgers SureSwitch) Pool heat pumps and contactors Crankcase heaters, long line sets, and total system charge A2L refrigerant testing   Learn more about White-Rodgers products on the WR Mobile app, our partner page at https://hvacrschool.com/partner/emerson-white-rodgers/, or the website at https://climate.emerson.com/en-us/brands/white-rodgers.   Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/23/202346 minutes, 57 seconds
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RTU Retrofits Facts and Considerations with JCI

In this episode recorded live at AHR Expo 2023, Matthew Schlegel, the Commercial Product Manager of Ducted Systems from JCI (Johnson Controls) joins Bryan to talk about rooftop unit (RTU) retrofit facts and considerations. When doing an RTU retrofit, you want to make sure you know the budget before anything else; larger budgets will allow you to implement things like VFDs and even VAV technology. In many cases, you may consider adding an economizer for "free" cooling and energy savings. You also want to know what you will get out of a retrofit in terms of value, especially when it comes to system efficiency and longevity. Some common IAQ upgrades for RTUs include improved filtration, especially with MERV 13 filters. Economizers also allow you to control the amount of outside air with the help of an exhaust system or even barometric relief. UV lighting can also be used in light commercial RTUs. When doing a retrofit, you'll want to pay attention to the existing equipment's footprint. Sticking to that footprint will make the replacement aspect easier. The utility and electrical infrastructure are also important to consider, as you won't want to replace the existing piping, wiring, and connections.   With regulations and technology constantly changing, it helps to be able to contact the manufacturer to assist with the retrofit process. Companies like JCI are trying to assist contractors with installations by providing guidance and education in the field. Matthew and Bryan also discuss: Matthew's professional experience at JCI Adding economizers and VFDs Convertible filter racks Cost-benefit analysis resources Changing regulations Interfacing with the manufacturer during the retrofitting process   To learn more about JCI, visit https://www.johnsoncontrols.com/. Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/21/202320 minutes, 25 seconds
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Troubleshooting The Modern ECM

Chris Mohalley returns to the podcast to talk about troubleshooting the modern ECM (or EC motor) and give diagnostic tips. ECMs are electronically commutated motors; they are mechanical motors with an electronic control module that dictates everything the motor does. As with all motors, ECMs have inputs and outputs. If the motor is not running, the first step is to check the line voltage and make sure that it is correct and connected continuously, as that's one of the main inputs on all ECMs; there is no relay or switch on the line side. The motor itself is the output, so you will know if the output is correct if the motor is rotating and generating airflow as intended. Constant-speed and constant-torque motors can all be diagnosed with a basic voltmeter. One of the most difficult parts of troubleshooting constant-torque ECMs is knowing how the taps are programmed by the manufacturer; reading the manual and schematic is advantageous during diagnosis, especially as these motors have evolved to use pulse-width modulation (PWM) and have nine speeds instead of five (energizing pin 1 at the same time as another pin, diagnosed with 24v AC). Constant-airflow motors tend to have inputs that are less complicated than the five or nine-speed taps. Chris and Bryan also discuss: Inputs: line voltage and signals TechMate Pro, multimeters, and Genteq TECINspect diagnostic tools Constant-speed vs. constant-torque vs. constant-airflow motors Diagnosing PWM signals with DC voltage Adjusting airflow with DIP switches Are board and motor failures common? Why we don't diagnose the motor separately from the control   Learn more about Regal Rexnord's FREE training at https://regal.mmu.com. Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/16/202331 minutes, 10 seconds
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Training for the Future w/ Clifton & ESCO

Clifton Beck of ESCO Group returns to the podcast to talk about training for the future. He also talks about how he became an educator, what it's like to be a trades educator with ESCO Group, and how educators can handle the recent HFC phasedown and the rise of A2L refrigerants. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, mass media has changed the way the industry thinks about training. Organizations like ESCO have evolved, and that is evident in their curricula; changes are being made to keep up with field tools and equipment to make sure technicians are up to date. A large network of industry experts makes these training curricula possible. Virtual and media education have changed the way we think of educators. Many of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, including people like Craig Migliaccio, work in the field and aren't traditional educators but have a large positive influence on the industry due to social media. Refrigerant regulation changes, including the HFC phasedown, present opportunities for training to focus on combating misinformation and adapting to field conditions. Training should aim to eliminate confusion and anger in these situations. Proper installation and service procedures will make the A2L transition much easier. Clifton and Bryan also discuss: Clifton's professional history HVAC experts and relationship building ESCO Institute and HVAC Excellence The evolution of educators and expectations for them HFC phasedown facts Recovery, recycling, and reclaiming refrigerant appropriately Commercial vs. residential HVAC/R and refrigerant regulations Educators as social media personalities HVAC Excellence Conference   Learn more about ESCO Group's resources at https://www.escogroup.org/. You can also check out the ESCO Group YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@escogroup. Learn more about the HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/9/202340 minutes, 31 seconds
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MERV vs. Motors

ECM expert Chris Mohalley joins the podcast to talk about the balance between selecting air filtration and motor performance, also known as "MERV vs. Motors." As the industry realizes that filtration is more important, we're starting to see an interest in filters with MERV ratings of 13 or higher. However, there are some design challenges associated with static pressure drops across filters, motor responses to static pressure, and airflow. If the airflow isn't set properly, that could affect the refrigerant charge and temperature rise. PSC motors' performance directly follows the load; as static pressure increases, the airflow rate produced by the motor decreases. They may also make loud noises when the static pressure is high but satisfactory airflow. However, they are robust and don't typically fail quickly due to high static pressure. Electrically commutated motors (ECMs) are operated by electronic controls and come in constant torque or constant airflow varieties. The former has a performance curve (like a PSC motor) but doesn't appear to suffer from longevity issues when the static pressure is high; the latter can adjust airflow based on static pressure, but it is likely to have issues maintaining airflow during high static pressure conditions. Regardless, there is still an operational envelope; going outside of that envelope will likely result in a capacity and/or efficiency hit if there is high static pressure. Chris and Bryan also discuss: COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of filtration Face velocity across filters Amps in constant torque vs constant airflow motors Swings in airflow/performance Educating the customer about "upgrading" filters Using performance manuals   Learn more about Regal Rexnord's training at https://regal.mmu.com. Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/7/202339 minutes, 28 seconds
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Effective Filtration & More w/ John Ellis

John Ellis, a business consultant who specializes in IAQ training, joins the podcast to talk about effective filtration, product development, and more. John has recently worked with an OEM to bring field practicality and application to the engineers who design products. Filtration design is a relatively poorly understood concept in the industry; we tend to overlook a filter's ability to remove particulates from the air when we prioritize static pressure drop. We have to understand how the duct design can make higher-MERV filters work and how the face velocity plays into design and comfort. John also talks about bypass HEPA filtration and its appropriate uses and potential for misapplication. Bypass HEPA may be integrated with the HVAC system (but run independently of the system) or installed independently of the HVAC; its effectiveness will be dictated by its runtime, and it doesn't filter everything.  IAQ products and strategies need to produce quantifiable results, and our industry needs people to be trained to measure and produce those results, not push products. Education, integrity, and competence are the keys to starting conversations about IAQ methodologies that actually benefit the customer. When we're ready to have those conversations with the customer, we can show the customer that we prioritize their health, safety, and comfort; it's good to use maintenance procedures as times to follow up with the customer and make sure their IAQ needs are being met. Communication is critical here. John and Bryan also discuss: Design, production, and distribution MERV ratings Oversized filter-back returns with media filters Blow-by  Charcoal carbon pellets vs. activated carbon Oxidizers and microbiology disruption Sales resistance & being pushed to make more sales Problems with circuit boards   Learn more about John's work at https://thenewflatrate.com/ or contact him directly at (505)-652-8119. Learn more about the 4th Annual HVACR Training Symposium or buy a virtual ticket today at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/2/202350 minutes, 12 seconds
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Do Houses Need to Breathe? w/ Allison Bailes

Dr. Allison Bailes from Energy Vanguard joins the podcast to answer the age-old question: do houses need to breathe? He also talks about his new book, A House Needs to Breathe... Or Does It? You can purchase that book directly through the Energy Vanguard site at https://energyvanguardstore.com/ or on Amazon. HVAC professionals can benefit from learning about building science because there is a lot of overlap between the two, and an HVAC technician who knows about building science can set themselves apart in the market. In short, Dr. Bailes doesn't think a house needs to "breathe," especially if a house brings in low-quality air, especially humid air, through gaps and cracks. Some people also use the term "breathe" differently; some may be referring to leakiness, and others may refer to drying out a house. It is necessary for a house to be dry, but we want to make sure that fresh air is controlled. If you build a home tightly, you have to ventilate it correctly. We have to control air, liquid water, water vapor, and heat. Heat is especially complicated, as it has three different ways of moving and can come in sensitive and latent varieties. One way of controlling those is through control layers like vapor barriers, though these aren't always needed; we must understand the vapor flow to determine if a vapor barrier is necessary. Dr. Bailes and Bryan also discuss: Energy Vanguard's resources The chapters of "A House Needs to Breathe... Or Does It?" IAQ - filtration, humidity control, ventilation, and source control Challenges with attic air Dr. Bailes's book-writing process The HVACR Training Symposium and other events w/ Dr. Bailes   Keep up with Energy Vanguard, read the blog, and subscribe to the weekly newsletter at https://www.energyvanguard.com/. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
1/26/202331 minutes, 36 seconds
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What the Heck is High Performance HVAC w/ David Holt

David Holt with the National Comfort Institute (NCI) returns to the podcast to talk about high-performance HVAC and what the heck it even is.  High-performance HVAC is all about delivering the highest possible equipment performance out of the box. High-performance HVAC is a key element of NCI's work; equipment should be able to deliver the health, comfort, safety, reliability, and efficiency expected by the occupants, and equipment that can't do that often has root issues we need to troubleshoot and fix. In many cases, the root cause has something to do with airflow issues. As contractors, we can focus more heavily on testing fan airflow to get to the bottom of poor HVAC performance, even when there may not be an apparent airflow problem. We need the proper test instrumentation to measure CFM, a key indicator of performance. We can't expect to maximize system performance until the airflow is correct across the heat exchange surfaces. Many factors that contribute to poor equipment performance actually have to do with building science, including issues like air leakage. Although HVAC contractors can't control that, we can be successful if we have a culture and mindset that makes us put our customers first and work with the circumstances we're given to deliver the best possible solution. David and Bryan also discuss: David's role at NCI Manufacturer, distributor, contractor, technician, and customer relationships How to measure CFM effectively Effects of improperly  Issues that arise during building construction Parts vs. equipment vs. systems What makes a good service technician The high-performance mindset Having a classroom vs. a commitment to training   If you want to get more involved in HVAC training, you can text David at (706)-332-2212 or visit https://nationalcomfortinstitute.com/pro/. Learn more about NCI's High-Performance HVAC Summit at https://www.gotosummit.com/.  Check out the HVACR Training Symposium and order your virtual tickets before, during, or after the symposium (Jan 19-21, 2023) at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
1/19/202346 minutes, 32 seconds
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Setting Realistic Customer Expectations w/ Ed Janowiak

Ed Janowiak returns to the podcast to talk about setting realistic customer expectations when designing residential HVAC systems across climates, seasons, and load conditions. Being honest and aggressive is one of the best ways to set realistic expectations, and our load calculations and equipment selection need to reflect that. Manual J calculations must consider non-design days, not just the design conditions, including partial load conditions. Partial load conditions that aren't accounted for may make it more difficult for the HVAC system to control latent heat, potentially leading to moisture problems indoors. We have to set expectations in the summer a bit differently than we set expectations in the winter, and we must account for the equipment type when we create expectations. Heat pumps perform differently than furnaces, and oversized furnaces typically present fewer problems than oversized heat pumps in areas with high latent loads.  Clients must also be willing to acknowledge that systems won't perform exactly as designed during partial load conditions. You can put the information in writing and make clients sign the paperwork to ensure that they understand the expectations you've set. Laying out expectations and making clients read them is a good way to prevent conflict or identify clients that may not accept the expectations. Ed and Bryan also discuss: Ed's three "Hate Me" reasons Oversizing furnaces vs. straight-cool A/C units vs. heat pumps Electrification Heat pumps in cold climates Humid vs. arid climates Designing systems with ancillary dehumidification Not being responsible for clients' lifestyle choices ACCA collaboration and industry support   Learn more about the training ACCA has to offer at https://www.acca.org. Check out the HVACR Training Symposium and order your virtual tickets before, during, or after the symposium (Jan 19-21, 2023) at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
1/12/202345 minutes, 43 seconds
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Mini Split Install and Service Tips

Craig Migliaccio, aka AC Service Tech, returns to the podcast to share his knowledge about mini-split install & service. He also talks a bit about his upcoming book, “Inverter Mini-Split Operation and Service Procedures.” Mini-splits are unique because they are compartmentalized in ways that traditional central-air ducted systems are not. Mini-splits come in many varieties, including ducted and ductless types, as well as multi-zone types. Many are inverter-driven and have more electrical efficiency as a result and can vary their capacities based on load variation.  Mini-splits have metering devices at their outdoor units, and these devices may be electric expansion valves (EEVs) or capillary tubes. Inverter mini-splits also don’t have filter driers because their PVE oil doesn’t have the same acid concerns as POE oil, and they don’t have traditional liquid lines. Flare connections are also critical when installing ductless systems, especially because you want systems to be tight to prevent leaking and contamination. Craig likes eccentric flaring tools with offset cones, and he recommends using flare nuts from the equipment manufacturer, not the line set manufacturer. He covers other flaring best practices as well. The charge is quite small in mini-splits, so weighing the charge and being careful and deliberate during charging is critical. Refrigerant leaks can also be highly problematic; corrosion and poor flare connections are common causes of leaks.  Craig and Bryan also discuss: Hyper-heat systems Coefficient of performance (COP) and BTU output Moving between PSC and ECM or inverter technologies Mini-splits vs. VRF/VRV technologies Pressure testing and leak detection Compressor diagnosis  Thermistors and electrical resistance Heat sinks and mounting circuit boards Selecting a location to install a mini-split Things to consider when checking the charge Why measure superheat and subcooling? Cleaning and maintenance best practices   Check out Craig’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@acservicetech.  Starting January 1st, 2023, you can buy Craig’s book on his website, which has a bunch of other good resources. Visit that site at https://www.acservicetech.com/. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
1/3/202350 minutes, 5 seconds
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CO Doesn't Leak w/ David Richardson

David Richardson from NCI returns to the podcast to talk about why CO (carbon monoxide) doesn't leak and what it does instead. CO is a highly dangerous gas that is colorless and odorless, and we can keep ourselves safe by staying aware of it with personal low-level CO monitors. However, CO doesn't leak; it spills, especially via backdrafting, a blocked flue, or updrafting. Whenever the flue gas comes back inside the structure unintentionally, there is room for a potential CO problem. With proper testing, we can determine the cause of that spillage and make the best choice to stop it from happening. When there is an excessive draft, there's often turbulence in the draft hoods, which leads to spillage. Spillage commonly happens at the draft hood, but it can also happen near the burner compartment of a gas appliance. Smoke tests won't detect that, but CO testing will. However, we need to look for rising CO levels over the run cycle of the equipment. If you test CO levels in the ducts, you're only seeing how the fans are distributing the CO; you're not checking the likely source of CO. Water heaters often give visual clues of improper venting, especially if there's soot, rust near the venting, or discoloration near the burner compartment. David and Bryan also cover: CO poisoning symptoms CO monitors vs. alarms The roles of stack effect and airflow in CO spillage Air taking the path of least resistance CO testing best practices CO and changes in sinus pressure Combustible gas leak detectors Low-level CO monitors Wind and its effects on pressurization or depressurization Electric appliances, generators, and CO poisoning   Learn more about NCI's training courses at http://nationalcomfortinstitute.com/. You can also contact David directly at [email protected].  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/29/202238 minutes, 30 seconds
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One HSI Furnace Control to Rule Them All w/ Jim Fultz

Jim Fultz with Emerson White-Rodgers returns to the podcast to talk about one HSI furnace control to rule them all, the 50M56X-843 Universal Single Stage Integrated Furnace Control. The 50M56X does not come with wiring harnesses; the control comes with the plugs that the majority of manufacturers use, making it a versatile and user-friendly universal part. It also works with the White-Rodgers Connect app to help you configure the part with the burners. You can also do some basic configuration when it comes to the blower motor. With the 50M56X and Emerson White-Rodgers Connect app combination, you can quickly and accurately configure the control without wi-fi or a password.  An igniter is included in the box with the 50M56X; the igniter must match the control. The control also comes with a three-digit display that communicates the microamp current from the flame sensor, meaning you don’t need to use a meter on the flame sensor. So, you can carry less truck stock and complete more calls with this universal part. The device also has some potentially useful extra features. For example, the 50M56X stores error codes for 14 days, not permanently, to prevent causing confusion for future technicians. It also has a bus connector for the thermostat and a dehumidification terminal for thermostats with dehumidification capabilities. Jim and Bryan also cover: White-Rodgers universal vs. aftermarket vs. OEM parts Blower speed and X13, ECM, and PSC motors Near-field communication (NFC) capabilities  Cross-referencing Technology and ethical business 50M56X warranty information Integration with Sensi thermostats WR Mobile App (available on Google Play and the App Store)   Learn about Emerson White-Rodgers and their featured products on our partner page HERE. Check out the wide array of products and resources Emerson White-Rodgers has to offer at https://emerson.com/universalcontrols. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/27/202239 minutes, 16 seconds
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Using Ice to Balance Energy Consumption

Yaron Ben Nun from Nostromo Energy joins the podcast to talk about ice banking, a way of using ice to balance energy consumption. Nostromo Energy is an Israel-based company that has recently started working in California. Water has a very high latent heat of fusion, meaning it can absorb and store a lot of energy between its solid and liquid states of matter. By storing ice, Nostromo Energy can support commercial and industrial structures that utilize chiller-type applications by offering a clean and sustainable battery thanks to water and its physical properties. Load balancing or management will be critical as the electrification of heating sources continues. Lithium-ion batteries aren't sustainable solutions in many of these cases, and that's where ice banking can support the grid by providing a thermal battery. Water offers many advantages as a medium for storing energy, especially since it is natural and doesn't have the numerous economic and labor concerns that come with the production of many other batteries. However, there have been some challenges with the widespread adoption of ice banking, especially when it comes to retrofitting and the ability to match the demand for new power stations. Water is also heavy, meaning that it can be difficult to manage in rooftop applications. Nostromo Energy keeps working to solve those problems and increase the coefficient of performance (COP), especially by maintaining a relatively high freezing temperature.  Yaron and Bryan also discuss:  Yaron's career and Nostromo Energy HVAC equipment and the electrical grid Economic and labor factors of lithium-ion battery production Discharge rates and glycol cycles COP and compression ratio Heat recovery chiller technology Carbon counting, kilowatt-hours, and carbon emission Thermal energy storage and tax rebate eligibility   Learn more at nostromo.energy. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/22/202232 minutes, 41 seconds
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We need to Pay Better! - An Audio Manifesto

Eric Kaiser and Ty Branaman return to the podcast to talk about why we need to pay technicians and field workers better in the HVAC industry and how small and medium businesses can help current employees. When the pay for entry-level HVAC positions can't compete with fast-food, retail, or warehousing jobs, we can't expect people to flock to the industry, especially since so much skill is required. Overtime is also almost unavoidable in many places, and it's a problem that requires a more nuanced solution than getting more trucks on the road. The tricky part about paying more for overtime is that it's challenging to implement pricing structures that charge the end user proportionally. As prices for equipment, fuel, and living essentials go up, the company often has to eat those extra costs if they want to pay their technicians fairly. In some cases, HVAC businesses feel bad for the customer when the cost of everything increases, which could be doing a disservice to the techs who deserve higher wages for their work. HVAC companies can increase their value by setting themselves apart in their markets, such as by performing unique services that benefit customers; effort and skill are required, which can justify higher prices. We have to be realistic about what our competitors are selling and work towards selling comfort, not just parts or systems. Eric, Ty, and Bryan also discuss: Challenges with reducing overtime HVAC sales and higher pay rates Customers' willingness to pay Base pay and incentives How managers can take care of their employees Understanding employee motivation Using profits for personal luxury items vs. reinvesting in a business Knowing our numbers Understanding employee discussions about pay   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/20/202247 minutes, 23 seconds
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Refrigerant Myth Busting w/ Dr. Chuck

Dr. Chuck Allgood from Chemours returns to the podcast to do some refrigerant myth-busting. Many people don’t understand why high-GWP HFCs can impact the atmosphere if the refrigerant is heavier than air. High-GWP HFCs exist for a long time, and they last long enough for natural mixing and the wind to distribute their molecules throughout the atmosphere. HFOs, by comparison, are more reactive in the atmosphere and have relatively short lifespans, meaning they have less of an effect on the environment. Even though refrigerants with lower GWPs are entering the market, it’s always been our job to keep refrigerants inside the system where they can’t harm the environment. However, when leaks occur, these lower-GWP refrigerants break down quickly outside the system but not inside it. Contractors and manufacturers should still work together to reduce leak rates as much as possible, even as we keep innovating. Another common myth is around “natural refrigerants,” which are common in some forms of refrigeration, but “natural refrigerants” may be a misleading term; although you find them in nature, they undergo heavy manufacturing and processing before being used in HVAC/R systems. Even “non-toxic” and “non-flammable” labels for A1 refrigerants may be misleading, as they don’t capture the full picture of their risks. There are also some myths around oil miscibility; oil still needs the help of refrigerant velocity and volume to move it through a system. POE and PVE oil are great in terms of miscibility and also get entrained in the refrigerant to ensure good oil return to the compressor. Dr. Chuck and Bryan also discuss: Dr. Chuck’s recent work and research “Heat rises” and buoyancy Pseudoscience HFO stability and reactivity Trifluoroacetate (TFA), toxicity, “forever chemicals” Education and change in the industry “Future-proof” vs. innovation Phosgene   Learn more about Chemours and their A2L training at opteon.com. You can also check out the Chemours/Opteon YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@OpteonProducts/videos.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/15/202238 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Trade Schools

Ty Branaman and Eric Kaiser return to the podcast to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of trade schools. They cover the opportunities and challenges they've observed in trade schools. As with for-profit colleges, for-profit trade schools market programs aggressively and can take people who are at a crossroads in their life and saddle them with debt. In some cases, trade schools are hesitant to fail people and end up passing people who don't have the technical proficiency to be effective tradespeople. Sometimes, trade schools don't emphasize practical skills and contractors' experiences as much as they could, either.    The tricky part about trade schools is their allocation of resources, which instructors typically can't control. Sometimes, too much money is spent on equipment, and not enough is spent on the instructors. There needs to be an appropriate balance of both in an effective program. Administrative distractions can also make programs less likely to produce effective technicians. The admission process also doesn't always sort people into appropriate classes; many people with low proficiency are put into classes that are too advanced for them. People are going into trade schools with less mechanical aptitude than in previous generations, and trade schools often skip over the basics of tool use. Students need to know how to use tools before they learn how to fix systems, and that tool proficiency needs to be reinforced. Continuing education is also more focused on paperwork than application and isn't as thorough as it probably could be. Ty, Eric, and Bryan also discuss: First-generation trade school graduates Administrative challenges with trades instructors Motivating students Instructor qualifications "PowerPoint teaching" Automated systems Bringing work experience to the classroom Where does podcasting fit into trades education?   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/13/202245 minutes, 56 seconds
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Selecting Proper Cleaners w/ John Pastorello

John Pastorello from Refrigeration Technologies returns to the podcast to talk about selecting proper cleaners for various HVAC/R jobs. From the beginning, the goal of Refrigeration Technologies has been to make cleaners that are safe but have the same effectiveness as the strong, hazardous varieties in the industry. The more hazardous cleaners are not food safe and may be corrosive, dangerous to inhale, or irritating to the skin or eyes. Some cleaners can also damage components; brighteners aren’t recommended for use on aluminum coils for that reason.  John is a fan of foaming cleaners because the foam gives the cleaner more contact area and holds the detergent in place for a longer time. Foaming cleaners tend to be good for degreasing. However, if used improperly, the foam can overflow in the drain pan and get messy. Many residential and light commercial HVAC contractors may benefit from keeping Viper EVAP+ for evaporator coils, Heavy Duty for condenser coils, and Brite only when there is an extremely dirty condenser coil. The Viper aerosol coil cleaner can also work well for small systems. The Pan & Drain Treatment also keeps drain sludge and odors at bay inside condensate lines and pans.  Instead of relying on harsh chemicals to dissolve microbial growth, Refrigeration Technologies cleaners help use enzymes to dissolve odor-causing biological material in HVAC systems. John and Bryan also discuss: PPE to use when working with cleaners Acid-based cleaners and “non-acid” cleaners Dwell time and contact Dilution ratios NSF registration and what it means to be “food-safe” Viper Venom Packs   Watch our 3D video showing how to use several Refrigeration Technologies products HERE. Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies products and resources at refrigtech.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/8/202239 minutes, 8 seconds
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Good Tech, Good Service Manager?

Eric Kaiser and Ty Branaman return to the podcast to talk about the progression from technician to service manager and if a good tech always makes a good service manager. They discuss career paths, differing skills between technicians and service managers, and how HVAC/R companies can support techs who wish to remain techs. In many cases, top technicians are pulled into service manager positions to keep them with the company. Sometimes, older technicians who have lost some mobility and strength over the years end up going to managerial positions to stay in the industry. Some people genuinely want to acquire managerial positions. Not everybody is motivated by promotions, and HVAC business managers would benefit from knowing what their employees value and want for their professional lives. Just as we have to teach technicians hard skills to be good at their jobs, we have to teach soft skills to service managers. We can't expect skilled technicians to enjoy or feel comfortable in leadership positions without knowledge of the expectations and required skills. When people genuinely want to go into service manager positions, they can benefit from having a clear path supported by goals and frequent performance reviews to keep them on the right track. However, some people may want to stay technicians; we can do right by them to keep their bodies in good shape so that they can get the most out of their careers and be able to enjoy all types of activities after they retire. Ty, Eric, and Bryan also discuss: Leadership training Setting expectations for positions Keeping technicians happy Residential vs. Commercial HVAC soft skills Taking care of employees over customers Making room for different personalities and providing opportunities for them   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/6/202234 minutes, 9 seconds
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Why Aren't the Trades More Respected? w/ Kimberly Llewellyn

Kimberly Llewellyn from METUS joins the podcast to talk about the value system around the trades and why the trades aren’t more respected. In many cases, the people who are involved in engineering and design miss the practical details that the tradespeople would be able to pick up on. In many cases, tradespeople aren’t consulted early enough in the design process, and their input deserves to be brought to the table. Often, not everyone on a project team is on board with the project's goal, and the trades need to be on board from the beginning to work towards the same goal as the architects and engineers. However, the trades aren’t as respected because of the current American dream’s emphasis on 4-year college, even despite the student loan debt problem many college graduates have. Despite that, building and troubleshooting systems that are necessary for survival is a fundamental skill for society. The trades can be especially hard on people and leave them feeling beaten down. To reengage the tradespeople and affirm their value, we need to give them credit for their contributions and expertise. It would also benefit younger generations if we could map out a trades career path and make the career progression opportunities clearer. Kimberly and Bryan also discuss: Kimberly’s experiences with the trades Theory vs. practice 4-year college, the trades, and our current value system in education Professionalism and being treated as professionals Revising contracts and liability concerns (for contractors/subcontractors) Having mutual respect Consultation and what it means in the trades Working for manufacturers and other career opportunities Contracting as a “race to the bottom” Funding training programs vs. investing in people Mentorship in the trades Underpriced bids and pricing methods   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
12/1/20221 hour, 31 minutes, 28 seconds
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Getting More People Into The Trade

Eric Kaiser and Ty Branaman return to the podcast to talk about getting more people into the trade. They focus on how the HVAC/R industry could be better at attracting and training skilled workers, not just getting more bodies to fill HVAC/R tech and installer positions.  People are starting to see more value in skilled trades careers, but it's difficult to find people who share your company's values and want to grow as HVAC/R professionals. Skilled tradespeople need time, education, and money invested in them, so it can be difficult for HVAC/R business owners to make those investments when other jobs pay close to the same without the same degree of investment from the company and the employee.  To attract more people to the trade, HVAC/R business owners ought to focus on how to give their employees a means of giving a good life. That means making incremental changes to employee pay, benefits, and training to make the trades a competitive option for people who want to improve their skills and grow. We could consider increasing entry-level pay to attract skilled people, allowing us to be more selective in our hiring. Performance reviews can also be more goal-focused to help HVAC/R talent grow within a company. Companies also ought to focus on training their tradespeople to use the many tools at their disposal nowadays; providing these tools and acknowledging the needs of employees will make the industry much more appealing and competitive. Eric, Ty, and Bryan also discuss: Labor organizations Making gradual changes to the industry Competing with other similar industries Changing landscape of job ads and applications "Back in my day..." Ways of providing tools   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/29/202224 minutes, 28 seconds
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Becoming a Complete Tech

Genry Garcia returns to the HVAC School podcast to talk about what becoming a complete tech really means and entails. He talks about his professional journey and what we must do to address our deficiencies. Career progression looks a bit different for everyone, with some technicians going to trade school and others starting as helpers and working their way up. We get used to taking readings and start noticing patterns. Then, we start understanding why we see certain pressures. Our experiences are our most valuable tools for becoming better technicians, but they can be reinforced with other learning materials, including books and podcasts. There comes a point when we acknowledge that we are solid technician but may want to specialize in a certain aspect of the trade. For Genry, that was building performance and humidity control; along the way, he listened to people who knew more than him and took on many jobs that he’d learn from and would keep him humble. Everything goes back to the basics; we have to be able to solve all the basic problems and understand the fundamentals. Then and only then can we start thinking about building performance and focus on becoming experts at it. However, we also have to assess our ecosystem and see if it would allow us to grow or if it’s more suited for stability. We also have to be willing to be wrong and grow from those mistakes. Genry and Bryan also discuss: The pros and cons of trade school Egos and admitting wrongdoing Mental models Humidity control Looking back on previous work with shame Building envelopes, pressures, and leakage Where and how to learn more about building science and performance Self-auditing and the Dunning-Kruger effect   Get in touch with Genry on Facebook by joining his Facebook Group HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/24/202240 minutes, 24 seconds
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Inductive Current Myths - Short #158

In this short podcast in our electrical myths series, Bryan talks about some inductive current myths. There is a common myth surrounding voltage drop in inductive loads. When you decrease the voltage in a circuit with a resistive load, you'll see a relatively proportional drop in resistance (ohms) and current in accordance with Ohm's law. So, we'll see a decrease in current, but we have to keep in mind that load temperatures also affect the resistance (and the current, by extension). Some people will claim that reducing the voltage in an inductive load (like a motor or compressor) will increase the current. That is actually generally a myth; many people believe this myth because the current drop is NOT proportional, unlike in resistive loads. The resistance that shows up in a motor is called inductive reactance, which is an opposing magnetic field that creates back electromotive force (back EMF) and impedes the circuit. Back EMF and inductive reactance contribute to the impedance or total resistance of the circuit. Decreasing the voltage may cause the resistance to increase, as some of the work will start contributing to heat instead of mechanical motion; the motor derates, becomes less efficient, and draws more current than it needs, but it doesn't actually draw more total current. However, some variable-speed motors on VFDs may draw more current because the motor module speeds up the motor to make up for the voltage deficiency, static pressure, etc. ECMs also fall into this category and may draw more current if the motor module or VFD calls for it. However, in terms of simple electrical math without VFD logic, the current won't typically increase if the voltage drops, even in inductive loads.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/22/20229 minutes, 14 seconds
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Why it REALLY gets hot upstairs w/ Alex Meaney

Alex Meaney returns to the podcast to explain why it REALLY gets hot upstairs and what we can do about it. He also talks a bit about his new business. Heat technically doesn’t rise; warm air is less dense than cooler air, so cooler air sinks as warmer air rises. In many cases, people blame stratification and the stack effect for warm upstairs areas, but there may actually be other issues at play, especially if the issue only seems to happen in the summer.  Many apparent convective problems are actually due to building science errors, especially poor insulation when walls are exposed to attic space. When air moves via convection, it brings the heat it contains with it, which can contribute to comfort problems. To help figure out what is going on, try to see what the floor temperature is; a cold floor usually indicates a building design mistake, particularly a joist bag problem.  Some of the solutions that may sound good aren’t actually that effective, including placing return ducts higher. In many cases, we have to think about fixing the actual building, not the HVAC system. Some attics that are poorly ventilated and insulated will need to be reinforced. Alex and Bryan also discuss: Mean HVAC Consulting & Design Wind washing and exposure within the insulation R-value Pressurization and how it relates to hot air “rising” Manual J and its shortcomings with significant heat gains/losses Duct design and using a Ductulator Soffit vents, ridge vents, blown-in insulation, and infiltration Why building science skills are important for HVAC technicians Poorly conceived home designs Diagnostic tips and tricks Vapor-permeable air barriers Sizing, capacity, and power consumption   Learn more about what Alex is doing at meanhvac.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/17/202249 minutes, 55 seconds
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Electrical Myths - Single phase is Really 2-Phase - Short #157

In this short podcast, Bryan busts the common electrical myth that single-phase 240v power is really two-phase power. When power goes into a structure that runs 240v appliances, we may understand that two 120v sine waves are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, but that isn’t 100% accurate. If we were to use an oscilloscope to watch the electrical sine waves, we would see two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase because the transformers are center-tapped. Center-tapping creates a neutral center point that becomes our reference. The transformer has two sides: a primary and a secondary. The number of wraps on each side is proportional to the other, and the number of wraps also dictates whether a transformer steps the voltage up or down. However, when you use the center tap as a reference, that also makes the voltage appear to be halved.  In many residential structures, a single phase of power goes into the transformer from the power company. If you were to use the center tap as your reference on each side of that transformer, you would read 120v; the two 120v readings add up to 240v. However, if you were to use the other side as the reference (as in a corner-tapped transformer), you would read 240v.  On an oscilloscope, you would see the same thing; using the center tap as the reference, you would see two 120v sine waves completely opposite each other. If you were to measure completely across the transformer, however, you would see a single 240v wave, which is larger.  Remember: only one phase comes from the power company. We only appear to get two separate waves because of our available point of reference.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/15/20229 minutes, 6 seconds
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Pumping Away, Hydronics Changes And Electrification

Moe Hirsch joins the podcast to discuss the hydronics side of the industry, particularly focusing on Dan Holohan’s Pumping Away and exciting developments in the hydronics market, especially regarding electrification. Pumping Away is many people’s entry point to hydronics. It contains some good basic information about boilers, especially when it comes to learning about the pressures involved in pumping and how the components manipulate pressure throughout the system.  Boilers use many of the same fundamentals as compression-refrigeration HVAC systems; pressure drops are similar, as are phase changes in steam boilers. Boilers also employ pumps instead of compressors, but the processes are similar.  The pump or circulator makes a pressure differential within the boiler, which adds pressure to the circulator outlet and results in negative pressure on the suction side. However, problems like air bubbles and magnetite buildup can negatively impact performance. The electrification side of the boiler industry is exciting, especially because of the relative safety of electricity compared to combustible fossil fuels. However, electrification comes with its own set of concerns, especially when natural gas prices are low. In some markets, electrical grids also haven’t caught up with the demand for electricity yet. Moe and Bryan also discuss: Moe’s recent work in the industry Changes in boiler infrastructure over the years Pumping away from the boiler vs. pumping at the boiler Pressure’s role in boiler systems Similarities between parallel racks and boilers Challenges with ECM circulators Evolution of boiler motors and controls Magnetic and hydraulic circulation Low-temperature heat pumps with radiant heated systems Moe’s ideal HVAC system Natural gas health and safety risks (carbon monoxide)   To learn more about what Moe is doing, check out turnupthecomfort.com or contact Moe directly at [email protected].  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/10/202251 minutes, 35 seconds
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Electrical Myths - Hard Starts Reduce Start Current - Short #156

In this short podcast, Bryan busts the myth that hard starts reduce the start current on the run winding of a compressor. A single-phase motor’s main winding is the run winding; it has a lower resistance and a higher current than the auxiliary winding, also known as the start winding.  Hard start kits are often used on HVAC systems with single-phase compressors (which usually have PSC motors). These kits usually consist of a start capacitor and a potential relay, which takes the start capacitor out of the circuit. We don’t typically use hard starts on three-phase motors or ECMs. Single-phase compressors often have to start under a big load, especially in long-line applications (at the manufacturer’s recommendation) or if the compressor simply has a hard time starting. In cases where you have a voltage drop or low voltage, particularly due to long branch circuits, you may also use a hard start kit. However, they do NOT reduce the starting current or “save” compressors. Hard starts reduce the time-averaged starting current because they get the compressor to start up more quickly (therefore, the starting current is higher for a shorter time). However, hard starts do NOT reduce the spike of current upon startup. Like run capacitors, hard start kits allow current to flow on the start winding, but the run winding current stays the same. Hard start kits boost the start winding current faster, not at a lower current, reducing how long the system is in locked rotor. If they stay in the circuit too long, they could overheat the start winding and need to be taken out. Therefore, we don’t want to use hard start kits without careful consideration. Soft starts are different entirely; they CAN reduce starting current.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/8/202215 minutes, 41 seconds
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The 24-Hour Technician w/ Andy Holt

Andy Holt joins the podcast to talk about what it means to be a 24-Hour Technician. We talk about what it means to be HVAC/R technicians AND deal with the human aspects of our lives at the same time. Service technicians differ from installers in that they do much of their work solitarily. They spend a lot of time by themselves. They’re also on their feet very often and may do emotionally exhausting work, but they can earn a respectable living and accumulate savings for the future. To make our work and the emotional burdens that come with it more manageable, we can try to control how we react—take out head trash. Most people—but especially technicians—experience anxiety, and worrying about things takes a major toll on us. We also may need to apologize to people who we simply can’t access. Andy goes over some of his best tips for dealing with those sources of worry. The goal is to eliminate negativity—clearing up negative aspects of your life and not being weighed down by individuals who negatively affect your life. As technicians, we do a lot of work to help other people, and the opportunities are endless for us. Customers may not always understand the value of the work we do, but we can bring positive experiences to them. We can find a lot of fulfillment in our work that way and bring positivity to our own lives. Andy and Bryan also discuss: Replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones The power of handshakes and eye contact Carrying burdens and being kind Apologies and forgiveness How to apologize to inaccessible people Being a “24-Hour person” Using overtime to avoid our lives outside of work How to manage anxiety Casting a future Andy Holt’s Outdoor University   To get in touch with Andy, visit https://toprate.com/ or call (706)-888-2332. You can also email Andy at [email protected].  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
11/3/202240 minutes, 49 seconds
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Furnace Commissioning w/ MeasureQuick 2.0

Jim Bergmann returns to the podcast to talk about furnace commissioning procedures and the development of measureQuick 2.0. MeasureQuick 2.0 has been a collaborative effort between Jim Bergmann and Joe Medosch, and it comes with an upgraded user interface that allows for faster operation and easier system data access and storage, and it works with more tool manufacturers’ tools. Gas furnaces need to be commissioned to reach their maximum potential (and lifespan). MeasureQuick 2.0 provides commissioning instructions and recommends starting with a visual inspection, including the flame rectification system (rod, circuit board, and grounding). Electricity is conducted during the flame rectification process—only in the microamp scale—so a dedicated circuit is crucial to keep it working as it should. When commissioning a high-efficiency furnace, we should make sure the condensate drain cannot become clogged. The filter should block the airstream completely and not allow for any bypass, which could make the secondary heat exchanger, condensate drain, or circuit board dirty. The combustion air zone (CAZ) is also important; we don’t want contaminants in there, as those could create acids that rot out your furnace components. Jim has also recently worked with the folks at TEC to make MeasureQuick 2.0 compatible with the TrueFlow grid and DG8. This integration allows you to identify airflow issues much more quickly and easily than before. MeasureQuick 2.0 also stores a lot more historical data, especially as it relates to the built-in visual inspection checklist. Jim and Bryan also discuss: The history and methodology of measureQuick 2.0 What technicians tend to miss the most Furnace circuit boards Electrical signals and flame rectification Filtration best practices IAQ accessories and pressure drop Combustion air zone (CAZ) Evolution of airflow measurement with measureQuick Venting termination considerations Clocking the meter and setting the fuel pressure CO and CO air-free PPM Low-level CO protection Checking manifold and inlet pressure Is the industry ready for universal heat pumps?   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/27/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 51 seconds
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Light Commercial PM Process

Mike Klokus and Jeff Crable walk us through Kalos Services' light commercial PM process.  First, we verify that everyone is clear on the agreement. Then, we start the PM with a thorough visual inspection, taking copious notes about things that look concerning.  Once we’ve done a visual inspection, we clean the condensers. We try to use only water when possible, though safe cleaners may be necessary in some cases. When checking the electrical components, we make sure the wires are neat and have tight connections. We take our electrical readings and check the capacitor. Then, we check the system’s refrigerant temperatures and pressures. We measure the superheat, subcooling, and pressures throughout the system and record those. Once we move indoors, we check and replace the filter in accordance with the agreement. We do another visual inspection at the air handler, paying special attention to blower wheel cleanliness, panel insulation, and wire routing and connections. When cleaning the evaporator, we want to try to stick with water or self-rinse cleaners. We want to make sure that we use very mild chemicals, and any foaming cleaners should be diluted appropriately and rinsed entirely. Drain cleaning is one of the most critical parts of a PM. We check for double traps and to make sure that the drain lines are properly pitched, trapped, and vented; vents should be uncapped, but cleanouts must be capped.  We finish with a final inspection, making sure all disconnects are back in, cleaning up all trash and tools, and sharing any notes with the customer. Mike and Jeff also cover: Cleaning microchannel and multi-row coils Critical electrical readings How to replace panels carefully Filter replacement Modifying ductwork and return boxes for accessibility Cleaning drain pans thoroughly Pulling and cleaning blower wheels Common drains and condensate pumps Traps, cleanouts, and vents Testing heat strips Finishing up calls If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/20/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 37 seconds
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Electrical Myth - Wire Length Code - Short #155

In this short podcast, Bryan covers a common electrical myth about wire length and its relationship with the National Electrical Code. The NEC is concerned with safety—protecting buildings and people—but less so with making sure things work. Wire sizing is a common topic, and length is important because it can contribute to the voltage drop in a circuit. In many cases, we refer to the MCA (minimum circuit ampacity) to select an appropriate wire size.  If you run more current through an undersized conductor, it gets hotter and will experience a voltage drop—though not proportionally. It’s worth noting that nothing in the circuit is fixed; voltage, amperage, and resistance all follow Ohm’s law but are variable as different things start happening in a circuit. In many cases, the NEC generally doesn’t require us to size conductors to accommodate for voltage drop. Conductors have some degree of resistance, so longer wires will result in a greater voltage drop than you would see in a shorter wire. It makes sense for the wire to overheat, but that won’t happen because the greater resistance in the circuit will reduce the current. There is less work being done. Longer wires and circuits that are sized correctly shouldn’t overheat or present a safety issue. The NEC recommends but does not require voltage drop to stay below 5% across a conductor. That is a performance recommendation, not a safety concern. We need equipment to perform correctly, but NEC won’t prevent electricians from setting up branch circuits that are longer than the ideal length. Excessively long branch circuits are common in commercial structures, and it’s up to HVAC technicians to notice that and measure the voltage drop to make sure it’s not negatively affecting the equipment.    If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/18/202212 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why CO2 Matters w/ Trevor Matthews

Trevor Matthews, the founder of Refrigeration Mentor, returns to the podcast to talk about why CO2 matters in commercial refrigeration and even HVAC applications. CO2 (R-744) has entered the residential HVAC sphere in some places around the world, though it hasn’t come to the North American markets yet. CO2 is one of the most eco-friendly refrigerants on the market, with a GWP of 1, and it’s very good at moving heat. However, CO2 has some challenges, including its low critical point and higher pressures.   CO2 comes with some safety concerns, and its systems have a complicated infrastructure. Since CO2 can exist as a liquid, vapor, or solid under operating conditions, you could end up with dry ice in the system. These issues require skilled, attentive technicians. As the industry moves to natural refrigerants like CO2 and hydrocarbons, we need to stop the race to the bottom. Technicians need to learn how to take their time and do the job right when they work on CO2 equipment so that they can be safe and save energy.  The future of troubleshooting will eventually lie in electronic controls that take measurements constantly. Technicians won’t lose their necessity with these changes, but it will be easier for them to respond to those measurements directly without connecting gauges. Technicians will also be able to access performance logs, which can help diagnose long-term problems. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Trevor’s history working with CO2 Refrigerant regulations Transcritical CO2 and climate The skills and proficiency of young technicians Dry ice in CO2 systems Pressure transducers and pressure release valves Manufacturer support and quality control Data logging and electronic controls in commercial refrigeration Trevor’s recommended resources for CO2 education and training   Check out Trevor’s mentorship and training initiative at refrigerationmentor.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/13/202239 minutes, 24 seconds
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Electrical Basics

This podcast is Bryan’s full-length electrical basics class for the Kalos technicians. He covers electrical theory and circuit basics. Volts, resistance, and amps all affect the behavior of electricity in circuits. These are also critical factors in electrical safety. Watts and kilowatts come from the multiplication of the volts and amps, though not every volt-amp does work; the power factor indicates how much work the volt-amps are actually doing. Some of the volt-amps are reactive (kVAR) and don’t do the real power of watts. Electrons move by interacting with other atoms. Substances can be conductors or insulators, and conductors have very few valence electrons, which move in and out of other atoms easily. Insulators have many valence electrons and are more stable. Insulators have high resistance, and conductors tend to have low resistance. Circuits consist of loads, switches, and power supplies. Loads actually do things and consist of light bulbs and motors. Switches pass power and don’t do work. Power supplies can be finite, like batteries, but also include transformers that take power from the utility company. Open circuits don’t move electricity, but closed circuits create a complete path that allows electrons to move. Electricity takes all available paths, not just the path of least resistance. Bryan also covers: Electricity and the body GFCIs and AFCIs Shock and arc flash protection Lockout/tagout Electricity and fall hazards Energy transfer Resistive vs. inductive loads Magnetism and flux Direct current (DC) vs. alternating current (AC) How power companies and generators work Open vs. short circuits “Path of least resistance” Tripping breakers Electrical units of measurement Step-up and step-down transformers Electrical frequency (hertz) Variable frequency drives (VFDs) Microfarads and capacitors Parallel and series circuits Becoming more proficient at reading diagrams   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/6/20221 hour, 27 minutes, 38 seconds
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Myth: Path of Least Resistance - Short #154

In this short podcast, Bryan debunks the myth that electricity only takes the path of least resistance. It is true that more current will typically take paths of lower resistance; it’s much easier for more electrons to flow through a path with lower resistance, which is consistent with Ohm’s law. Ohm’s law states that a circuit will have higher current with you have lower resistance so long as the voltage stays the same.  In most cases, the voltage stays relatively constant; transformers don’t often need to limit their currents, so there usually isn’t a voltage drop. When power supplies are regulated, the voltage is usually fixed, not the amperage. As a result, dropping the resistance in a circuit will increase the current.  Ohm’s law holds true for both resistive and inductive loads. Inductive loads, however, are a bit tricky because the resistance isn’t constant. As motors spin faster, they create back EMF or impedance, which is magnetic resistance. The resistance only shows up once a motor, solenoid, or another electromagnetic component is energized; the resistance is much more dynamic. An electrical current takes ALL parallel paths, not just the path of least resistance. The current also stays proportional to the resistance, even when it takes paths of many different resistance values. Our bodies are also parallel paths, so there’s a risk of electric shock even though our bodies usually have much higher resistance than loads. Wet skin has less resistance than dry skin, so that’s why electricity and water are so dangerous to us; lower resistance means that more current can flow through our bodies.  If electricity ONLY took the path of least resistance, we wouldn’t be able to operate all the appliances and electrical components in our homes. The only prerequisite is an electrical potential (voltage).   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
10/4/202210 minutes, 13 seconds
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Dehumidification in Shoulder Seasons w/ Nikki

Nikki Krueger from Santa Fe Dehumidifiers returns to the podcast to talk about dehumidification equipment and strategies in the shoulder seasons (spring and fall). The shoulder seasons (and the weeks leading up to them) are when many homeowners begin to notice moisture problems in their homes. HVAC units and dehumidifiers should have a king-queen relationship. The HVAC unit is the king and controls the bulk of temperature and humidity during the day, but the dehumidifier can take care of the humidity when the king needs help. To remove moisture optimally, an HVAC unit needs longer runtimes and a cold evaporator coil. However, there will still likely be gaps in performance, and that’s when the dehumidifier can step in.  Proper equipment sizing can help us achieve better runtimes; we want to avoid oversizing the HVAC equipment, but oversizing is a bit less critical when it comes to installing dehumidifiers. The actual install configuration is more important when it comes to dehumidifiers (i.e., whether it takes supply or return air and ties into the supply or return). Dehumidification can be coupled with ventilation and filtration; ventilating dehumidifiers bring in outdoor air and should filter it before dehumidifying. The air mixing tends to occur in the dehumidifier, and the mixed, dehumidified air then moves into the supply airstream.  Nikki and Bryan also discuss: Condensating vents, walls, and equipment Modern homes, energy efficiency, and HVAC  Infiltration and the building envelope’s effect on humidity Effects of equipment sizing and wall/duct insulation Fan speed, air mixing, condensation, and humidity Andy Ask and Ken Gehring’s contributions and legacies Humidity from household habits and behaviors Santa Fe Oasis 105 features and operation   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/29/202258 minutes, 49 seconds
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Time Management - Short #153

In this short podcast episode, Bryan gives some quick tips for time management. You can save a lot of time by prioritizing what really matters and delegating tasks. One of the simplest but most effective ways to manage your time is to use a calendar. You can even apply the calendar to your personal life; you can get into a habit of scheduling important appointments, deadlines, and tasks. Google Calendar also allows other people to see and interact with your schedule, so it’s a great tool for scheduling performance reviews, interviews, and meetings. When you prioritize things, think about the negative and positive impacts of each thing. The ones with the highest positive and negative impacts should take priority over things with less significant positive or negative impacts. Many of the major business initiatives take place in the slow season, and many of our urgent client issues take priority during the busy seasons. Delegating is also a critical task. Just because you can do something, that doesn’t mean you should do it. So, it often makes more sense to give someone a task if they’re uniquely qualified for it. If someone is uniquely qualified to do a task, then you can delegate that task to them. Delegating is NOT the same as passing work to someone else because you don’t want to do it. To delegate effectively, you need to assess qualifications and prioritize. On the management side, you can put processes in place that allow you to spend less time managing and more time doing meaningful things at work that you actually enjoy. Making videos and audio tutorials can make it easy to demonstrate processes and procedures within your company. Then, you can focus on leading by example, creating, and making everybody better overall.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/27/202215 minutes, 49 seconds
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Become a Better Mentor w/ Eric Kaiser

Eric Kaiser returns to the podcast to talk about how to become a better mentor. He explains the topic from the perspective of a mentor and a mentee. The goal of mentorship is to pass your knowledge on to someone else. When you give someone the knowledge to succeed in the HVAC/R trade, you move the trade forward and allow yourself to try new career opportunities when someone can replace you. Some of the most effective mentorship strategies establish the mentor as a guide rather than someone who spoon-feeds the mentee. Mentorship is about supporting discovery, which also builds the relationship between the mentor and mentee. Mentors can also learn from their mentees when they allow their mentees to discover the answers to their questions. Mentors can also benefit their mentees by talking about health, especially mental health. Those who have been in the trade a long time may know how to draw boundaries between their work and their personal lives; mentees can benefit from open discussions about those things, and it helps to know that their mentor cares for them. Good mentors help mentees prioritize their health and wellness and break mental health stigmas. Mentors can also share references to other possible teachers with their mentees. Those relationships are especially important for mentors who don’t have all the answers. Mentorship provides the context for training, and those connections provide as much context as possible. Mentors can also be mentees themselves, and those relationships are what really advance the trade.  Eric and Bryan also discuss: Online education vs. in-person mentorship The role of the apprentice or mentee The Socratic method Mentoring people about health and safety practices Bryan and Eric’s mentors Recognizing who mentors are and treating them appropriately   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/22/202243 minutes, 55 seconds
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HVAC Measurement Types and Benefits

Eric Kaiser joins the HVAC School podcast to talk about HVAC measurement types and the benefits of taking each one. He also talks about point measurements and data trends. Point measurements include static pressure, voltage readings, and readings provided by gauges. We only take those measurements once. However, when you track those on several occasions over time, you can build data trends. Single-point measurements give us information about what is happening at the moment, but they don’t give us a long-term view of the system's health. Absolute and differential measurements also have different purposes entirely. Absolute measurements require us to compare a reading to a specific, unchanging reference point, but differentials compare one measurement to another. When we turn point measurements into trend measurements, we can see some degree of causation. Changes in data trends indicate that a problem occurred at a certain point in time and could be due to changes that coincided with the deviation from the norm. However, that’s intermittent trending that relies on us to take point measurements at spaced-out points in time. Continuous trending allows us to use sensors and test instruments that map changes constantly. At the end of the day, point measurements are like snapshots, and continuous data trends are like videos; the former only shows part of the picture, and the latter can help us solve more difficult problems by giving us a more complete idea of what’s happening. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Qualitative vs. quantitative measurements Filter restrictions and static pressure Gauge vs. atmospheric pressure Combined trend measurements How tool usage and calibration impact measurements Non-invasive testing Recorded data and sample frequency Comparative troubleshooting in spaces with similar equipment Resolution vs. accuracy vs. precision   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/15/202243 minutes, 4 seconds
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Ventilation and 62.2 Intro & Rant w/ Genry Garcia

Genry Garcia joins the podcast to give an intro to ASHRAE Standard 62.2. He and Bryan also share a nice rant about accountability in HVAC design. Standard 62.2 is the ventilation standard for low-rise residential buildings, which dilutes airborne contaminants like VOCs and CO2. Before coming up with a ventilation strategy, we need to assess the leakage rate of the building, such as via a blower door test. However, we also need to consider how bringing in outdoor air might negatively affect efficiency and comfort if we don’t do it right.  Exhaust ventilation removes air from the structure and relies on infiltration to bring air back in. Instead, we can use controlled intake air, which is brought in from the outdoors instead of unconditioned spaces in the home.  Ventilating dehumidification is a strategy we can use to comply with 62.2; we can bring in filtered outdoor air and dehumidify it before injecting it into the supply ductwork. When we introduce ventilation in a Florida installation, bringing it in through the return is typically not ideal, especially if it’s unfiltered. People can go wrong with 62.2 if they remain shortsighted; when designing ventilation systems, we need to think about a lot more than the load calculations and CFM of fresh air needed. We need to focus on accessibility, ventilation strategies, and location-specific installation practices. Consulting tradespeople during the design process would likely make ventilation systems much more accessible, sensible, and effective. Genry and Bryan also discuss: Ventilation as an IAQ strategy Infiltration credits Pressurization Continuous vs. spot measurement Holding the right people accountable during the design phase Intermittent vs. continuous ventilation Automating ventilation with sensors Controlling ventilation on a timer Genry’s ideal methods of controlling ventilation   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/8/202255 minutes, 3 seconds
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Pressure Enthalpy without Tears

RACT manual co-author Eugene Silberstein joins the podcast to talk about the titular topic of his book, Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears.  Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears is a book that introduces engineering concepts to HVAC technicians in a way they can understand and apply in the field. Enthalpy is a fancy way of saying “heat,” and we use it to refer to the total heat content (BTUs). The pressure-enthalpy chart shows the relationship between the refrigerant pressure and enthalpy in a system; it’s like a P-T chart that shows the relationship between heat content instead of temperature.  Each refrigerant has its own pressure-enthalpy chart, but the points and lines on the chart usually form a right trapezoid. Dirty air filters and other less-than-ideal conditions can distort the trapezoid or shift it on the chart. Each side of the trapezoid represents the refrigerant inside a major component of the HVAC system: evaporator, compressor, condenser, and metering device. The pressure-enthalpy diagram allows you to get a look at individual components while keeping the entire system in mind.  To plot points on a pressure-enthalpy chart, you need the high side pressure, low side pressure, condenser outlet temperature, evaporator outlet temperature, and compressor inlet temperature. Pressure is usually measured in absolute units (rather than gauge units), but ballpark estimates are typically sufficient. Entropy is another concept we need to consider. Compression theoretically leaves no additional entropy and is reversible. Crossing a line of entropy means that a process is no longer reversible. Eugene and Bryan also discuss: Technicians vs. engineers Temperature vs. heat content Psychrometric and pressure-enthalpy charts Using the pressure-enthalpy diagram to assess operation costs Electrical measurements Predicting compressor failure Putting passion into learning and trades education   You can visit https://www.escogroup.org/ to purchase Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears and access all of ESCO Group’s resources. You can also use the code HVACSchool22 for a discount on ESCO Group’s eLearning services. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
9/1/202247 minutes, 4 seconds
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Total Heat of Rejection - Short #152

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about THOR, total heat of rejection. He explains what it is and why we should care about it when working on HVAC/R systems. THOR is another aspect of pressure-enthalpy calculations, along with net refrigeration effect (NRE) and total heat of compression. When we talk about system capacity, we’re often referring to heat absorbed in the evaporator coil (NRE).  Heating is on the opposite side of the coin; when we bring heat into a home, we care more about how much heat is rejected than absorbed. That’s where THOR comes in. More heat is rejected at the condenser than absorbed in the evaporator. The total heat content increases due to additional heat being absorbed in the suction line. Compressors also have motors that aren’t 100% efficient, so a bit of inefficiency also adds a small amount of heat to the refrigerant (in a system operating normally). All of that heat adds up to the total heat of rejection (THOR).   Even though a higher total heat of rejection is desirable when we want heat pumps to bring heat into the home, we don’t want our compression ratios and discharge temperatures to get too high. We have to avoid oil breakdown and other negative effects. So, modern heat pumps use variable frequency drive technologies or liquid or vapor injection to get a lot of capacity out of the compressor without overheating it. The effective THOR only happens in the condenser. Some heat rejection may occur in the discharge line, but none of that is of use to us when we need to bring heat indoors.   Check out Eugene Silberstein’s book, Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears, at https://escogroup.org/shop/itemdetail.aspx?ID=1445.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/30/202210 minutes, 6 seconds
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Hard Start vs. Easy Start

Matteo Giovanetti from Micro-Air joins the HVAC School podcast to talk about the differences between a hard start and an EasyStart. Micro-Air’s “EasyStart” provides a soft start rather than a hard start. A hard start abruptly ramps up the voltage and current to the motor start; a soft start is a much gentler start that results from a gradual voltage and current increase on the start AND run windings.  The EasyStart marks a paradigm shift in how we think about “saving” compressors. It attempts to avoid drawing unnecessary inrush current, which is very common with hard starts. Hard starts may even lead to premature failure if the potential relay fails and can’t take the start capacitor out of the circuit.  EasyStart has a different wiring configuration compared to hard start kits. A hard start kit consists of a start capacitor wired in series with a potential relay, which increases the torque on the compressor and removes the start capacitor from the circuit. The EasyStart has four wires; the black and white wires (L1 and L2) connect directly to the contactor, a brown wire that splices directly to the run winding, and an orange wire to the HERM terminal of the run capacitor.  EasyStart also records information about the compressor during the first few startups to optimize its performance. It also monitors overcurrent and fault conditions with phase detection; when it detects a stall, it shuts off the compressor and doesn’t attempt to restart it until a few minutes have passed. Matteo and Bryan also discuss: EasyStart models Solar, generator, and RV use Impedance Positive temperature coefficient resistors (PTCRs) Compressors running backward EasyStart’s Bluetooth capabilities Tech support and product education Offering useful upgrades to customers Running and starting watt specifications for generators   Learn more about EasyStart or purchase it directly from https://www.microair.net/. You can also contact the manufacturer by email at [email protected].  You can view the EasyStart home installation video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp4U-husy1o&ab_channel=MicroAir.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/25/20221 hour, 18 minutes, 40 seconds
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Heat of Compression - Short #151

In this short podcast, Bryan explains what the heat of compression is and why we should care about it as HVAC/R professionals. More heat is rejected in the condenser than absorbed in the evaporator coil, and that’s because the compressor adds heat. That added heat is called “heat of compression.” That heat does NOT contribute to the net refrigeration effect (NRE), as it doesn’t contribute to cooling. When we compress something, we increase the system entropy during that process. Entropy is the waste and disorder associated with work. There is some inefficiency, which we see in the form of additional heat. So, the HVAC system needs to reject that additional heat of compression, and we can plot and track reversible changes by following lines of constant entropy. As the temperature increases, the molecules begin moving more quickly. However, the refrigerant doesn’t absorb many more BTUs in the compressor (in a properly operating system). The temperature spikes, but the compressor doesn’t typically add a significant number of BTUs to the refrigerant. Heat also enters the system via the suction line, which also doesn’t contribute to the NRE. Long, uninsulated suction lines can absorb a lot of heat without cooling the space at all. That heat also has to be rejected in the condenser. So, short, well-insulated suction lines tend to absorb less heat. When plotting the heat of compression, we’re looking at BTUs added into the system in the compressor, discharge line, and suction line. BTUs that don’t contribute to the NRE may fall under the “heat of compression” label, though the actual definition may vary by organization.   Check out Eugene Silberstein’s book, Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears, at https://escogroup.org/shop/itemdetail.aspx?ID=1445.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/23/20228 minutes, 30 seconds
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Intro to ACCA Manual T

Ed Janowiak joins the podcast to introduce us to ACCA Manual T. Compared to other manuals, Manual T is one of the least-considered ACCA manuals. However, it’s the manual that advises us on how not to blow high-velocity air on people and has maintained the same standards since the mid-1900s. Unlike Manuals J, S, and D, Manual T is not recognized in code compliance. Manual T deals with air distribution; it helps us find out the throw and spread, which informs our ductwork design in Manual D. We need to know the customer’s expectations and the air velocity we’ll need to manage at the registers before designing the ductwork. Register placement is also a critical element of Manual T. Throw and spreqd can vary wildly, and register selection and placement are going to have a significant effect on comfort as a result. Register placement on the ceiling may achieve the Coanda effect to assist with air distribution, and that can be especially useful in low-load or passive homes. Low-load homes are an interesting case, as they use less hardware than other homes, meaning that we need to make the most of calculations and equipment selection. Manual T ultimately focuses on using the diffusers and registers, rather than the equipment, to spread air throughout a space. Knowledge of the principles in Manual T also allows us to communicate, establish, and manage expectations with the customer. Ed and Bryan also discuss: Registers, diffusers, grilles, and vents Filter restrictions ACCA Manual LLH Air movement in the occupied vs. unoccupied zone Manual T as an extension of Manual D What it means to lend credibility in this industry Floor vs. ceiling registers based on climate   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/18/202240 minutes, 56 seconds
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Net Refrigeration Effect - Short #150

In this short podcast, Bryan explains what the net refrigeration effect (NRE) is and how it affects HVAC systems. The net refrigeration effect (NRE) is what happens in the evaporator coil. The evaporator is the heat absorber; as air passes over the coil, the cooler refrigerant within the evaporator absorbs that heat and boils. The NRE is the net energy change that occurs during that process. You can plot the NRE on a pressure-enthalpy chart. When air moves over the evaporator coil, there is a change in enthalpy or BTUs per pound in the refrigerant (usually called delta h). There should be more BTUs per pound in refrigerant exiting the coil than when it went in. We have to know how many pounds of refrigerant we’re circulating (mass flow rate) and how many BTUs are in those pounds. Many of those BTUs come from latent heat transfer, which happens when the refrigerant boils. When refrigerant undergoes a phase change, it remains at a constant temperature (sensible heat), but it continues absorbing heat. The heat absorbed contributes to the phase change, and that’s latent heat. Most of the NRE deals with those latent BTUs. (Note: this does NOT refer to latent heat loads.) In addition to the boiling or saturation phase, we also have to consider BTU changes when refrigerant flashes off at the beginning of the evaporator coil and heat obtained during the superheating phase at the top of the coil. We can maximize our NRE by running a cold evaporator coil (without freezing) and ensuring the evaporator is full of boiling refrigerant. BTUs absorbed in the suction line do NOT count towards the NRE, as they don’t contribute to cooling spaces or refrigerated boxes.   Check out Eugene Silberstein’s book, Pressure Enthalpy Without Tears, at https://escogroup.org/shop/itemdetail.aspx?ID=1445.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/16/202212 minutes, 22 seconds
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Systems Thinking - Gas and Combustion

Eric Kaiser returns to the podcast to talk about how we can use systems thinking to approach gas appliances and combustion in HVAC installation and service. Gas lines can be made of a few different materials, including black iron, copper, and CSST. These all have benefits, setbacks, and appropriate applications. For example, copper is common in propane (LP) systems but not natural gas. In coastal environments, galvanized pipe tends to be most common due to the increased likelihood of corrosion. Gas lines may also need sleeves to prevent them from interacting with moisture. The piping also needs to be routed in accordance with code; in many cases, joints need to be exposed so that a technician can check for leaks. Keeping joints inside walls is risky, especially when light switches cause sparks and could potentially ignite leaking natural gas. In any case, leak detection can be tricky unless you have a combustible gas leak detector and bubbles that work well for gas lines. Safety has to be the top priority when it comes to venting, especially on water heaters. A personal low-level CO monitor can also keep you and your customers safe by detecting small yet harmful amounts of carbon monoxide. Makeup air and combustion air are also important in gas appliances; unbalanced pressures may result in undesigned return paths. Traps and improper pitch may also lead to improper venting, as condensate may get trapped in the pipe and may lead to freezing or other complications. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Pipe material and flow rate Pipe sizing and connectors Regulator issues on gas water heaters and pool heaters Thread sealant products and best practices Bubble solution recommendations Signs and risks of backdrafting Exhaust pipe insulation Drain installation   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/11/202254 minutes, 13 seconds
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HVAC School Admin Discussion - Moderating a Successful Community

Some admins from the HVAC School Facebook group join the podcast to discuss the art of moderating a successful community. Bryan is joined by Eric Kaiser, Ty Branaman, Michael Housh, and Neil Comparetto. A community based on a skilled trade gives people an inviting space to share information and ask questions. It’s also a space that allows people to practice how they present information. Groups also connect people across geographical locations, and we can get regional perspectives that change the way we think about things. However, community standards are necessary to keep groups professional and on-topic. Swearing is a slippery slope that may lead to personal attacks, which make the community hostile and unhelpful. The main goal is to keep a respectful atmosphere, and moderators have to draw the line somewhere, but there’s a difference between cultivating a productive atmosphere and being dogmatic. People who interact in those communities need to do it for altruistic reasons, not to satisfy their egos. Giving detailed, accurate answers (ideally with a source to back up the information) is the best way to contribute meaningfully. Engaging in rigorous debates with an open mind is also a great way to see many different viewpoints.  Debates in HVAC communities are great, but they require boundaries and mutual respect between debaters. Namecalling, blaming others, or dragging politics into the discussion is unproductive. Overall, it’s best to stay positive and try to keep things helpful, and admins try to maintain an atmosphere that can be both serious and lighthearted but is always helpful and respectful. HVAC communities and groups are not places to share other groups, content, or job postings. These groups are not marketing centers; they are forums for learning and discussing the work we do every day. Ty, Neil, Michael, Eric, and Bryan also talk about: How they got started in online HVAC communities Unproductive arguments about codes Banning and muting members Receiving feedback Avoiding logical fallacies in debates How egos hold people back Trite and unproductive catchphrases, slogans, and jokes Responding to disagreements productively Communicating with people appropriately Admitting fault and refraining from judging others who are incorrect Moderating posts for quality and shareability   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
8/4/202259 minutes, 11 seconds
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Systems Thinking - HV / LV / Condensate

Eric Kaiser returns to the podcast to discuss high-voltage wiring, low-voltage wiring, and condensate assemblies as they relate to systems thinking. On the high-voltage side, the disconnect should be in a secure location, and it should be able to keep water out. The wires should be appropriately sized, have an appropriate level of tension, and should not be vulnerable to chafing or abrasion. Overall, best practices include using proper grommets and ensuring that you have a solid connection. Do not run high voltage wiring in parallel with low-voltage or control wiring. It’s also worth noting that double-lugging is a poor practice that is against code. On the low-voltage side, you also need to be careful of where you route your wires to avoid induction, contact with hot surfaces, or abrasion. The insulation ratings also need to be appropriate. We can think of the condensate assembly as its own system. Condensate drains have uphills and downhills, and they may have traps, vents, and cleanouts throughout. Cleanouts and vents may be confused for each other, but cleanouts allow the technician to access and clean the drain. Cleanouts are also capped when in use, but vents are not. The location of a vent can help equalize the siphoning effects of pressurization. Condensate systems also consist of pans and switches. In those cases, redundancy is desirable to prevent overflowing. Secondary drain pans should be large enough to overlap with the primary pan, especially in horizontal air handlers. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Conductor length best practices Connecting stranded to solid wire Lug torquing Variation in wire sizing Testing low-voltage wires Cleanout tees Single vs. multiple drains with other appliances Drain pitch and if there could be “too much fall”   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/28/202246 minutes, 38 seconds
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Systems Thinking - Copper & Line sets

Eric Kaiser returns to the podcast to talk about how copper, piping, and line sets play into systems thinking. Nowadays, we have to think about POE and PVE oil, and we need to design line sets in a way that assists with oil carry while preventing liquid refrigerant migration. The height of the evaporator relative to the condenser is a major factor to consider during the design phase. Especially when chases are run underground, we need to watch for possible threats to the copper. Water softener discharge and excess pool water may damage the copper over time, and systems should be designed to keep line sets away from those. In many cases, Florida chases are sealed with mastic, which doesn’t prevent water from getting in (but does prevent rodents and insects from entering the home. Flowing nitrogen is one of the best practices you can do while brazing. Nitrogen displaces oxygen, which contributes to oxidation and produces scale. When cutting copper, you will also want to make sure that you don’t get copper shavings inside the tube. The pressure test is also an important step for leak detection. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, pressurize the system and apply a liquid leak reactant (bubbles) to joints and other common leak points. It’s a good idea to have at least one line drier in the system, and it should be able to work both ways in a heat pump system. Ideally, the line drier should be in a serviceable location, as it will be easier to detect restrictions when it’s on the line set. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Air and vapor barriers Long line guidelines Underground chase depth Derate values Controversial reaming/deburring practices Line drier best practices   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/21/202233 minutes, 37 seconds
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Systems Thinking In HVAC w/ Eric K

Eric Kaiser joins the podcast to talk about systems thinking in HVAC. Systems thinking allows us to solve problems and address customers’ comfort holistically instead of focusing on just the equipment. The key to systems thinking is to think outside the appliance. System design plays a major role in performance. Duct design, drain placement, and equipment placement all matter, and we can only do so much to mitigate factors of poor design. We need to assess the building envelope and consider how the HVAC system interacts with it. Building envelope and duct leakage will significantly affect HVAC performance and occupant comfort.  Ventilation also matters, especially since many homes rely on exhaust-only ventilation. However, the air that leaves the building must be replaced, and we often don’t control where that air comes from. When you control the source of your fresh air ventilation to meet ASHRAE 62.2, filtration may further help control the quality of the air that comes in. Installation and commissioning are other things we need to consider when thinking of the HVAC equipment systemically. The wiring needs to be correct, and we need to verify that the system is achieving the proper airflow in the first place. Static pressure is another factor that we must consider during commissioning, as an abnormal static pressure could indicate a filter that doesn’t fit or is too restrictive. It’s best to start by looking at the appliance and widening your scope from there until you know about the system as a whole. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Is the house a duct system? Oversizing equipment Stack effect Loose vs. tight houses Filtration best practices Radiant heat transfer Ductwork best practices Data trends of cause and effect   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/14/202253 minutes, 14 seconds
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Logical Fallacies - False Cause & Strawman

Nathan Orr joins Bryan to talk about some logical fallacies, namely the false cause and strawman. They explain how those fallacies show up in the trade. It’s difficult to present arguments without using fallacies, but people tend to rely on fallacies to uphold extreme religious or ideological viewpoints or conspiracy theories. Fallacies are also often easier to communicate than nuanced science and data. “False cause” relates to the phrase “correlation does not equal causation.” It can be tempting to link coincidences and say that one thing causes the other, but that could very well not be true. For example, more compressors fail during lightning storms. It’s reasonable to assume that lightning causes the failures, but lightning is not simply striking all of the compressors; other power outages and other conditions that happen during storms are more likely plausible causes. Confirmation bias also makes it easy to cling to a false cause. People are likely to disregard data that doesn’t align with what they already believe. A strawman misrepresents (or deliberately misstates) another argument to make it easier to attack. People often apply the strawman fallacy to conversations about forming ice in a system during vacuum and duct sizing. Strawman arguments happen more often in business matters, especially if people impugn the intentions of the other party. In many cases, being open to new information will prevent you from falling prey to logical fallacies. Nathan and Bryan also discuss: Flat-earthers Inverter board failures at night Evaporator coil corrosion Simultaneous capacitor and fan motor failures Logical fallacies in chance and gambling The pitfalls of anecdotal evidence and small samples Appeal to emotion Defining “better” Mounting TXV bulbs Heuristics and mental shortcuts   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
7/7/202242 minutes, 20 seconds
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Tips for Learning in HVAC/R w/ Trevor Matthews

Refrigeration Mentor founder Trevor Matthews returns to the HVAC School podcast to talk about personal development and training, including tips for learning in HVAC/R. When you’re looking at a problem in the field or in training, it pays to take a step back, cool down, and reevaluate your mindset. Trevor recommends thinking about the worst-case scenario and seeing how you can either prevent it or grow from it. It’s good to walk away for a little bit anytime you feel like you’re overanalyzing anything so that you don’t make blunders.  Trevor has found that reading books is one of the best ways to learn about HVAC/R. HVAC/R professionals can greatly benefit from investing in themselves and setting up their own self-directed training programs. Trainers and mentors can’t be the only ones motivating HVAC/R professionals, holding them accountable, and stimulating their growth. Many times, our own limiting beliefs of ourselves hold us back, and we need to convince ourselves that we can learn difficult things, even if it isn’t easy. We can also limit our ratio of entertainment to education; focusing more on the latter can greatly benefit your personal development. Setting educational goals is also difficult when we work long hours and simply don’t have the time or energy to invest in ourselves. The industry needs reform, and reform that raises base rates and prevents an over-reliance on overtime might also attract some new professionals to the field. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Trevor’s new podcast Clearing your head Books about doing the hard things first Autodidactism and “learning how to learn” Subconscious cost-benefit analysis The industry’s addiction to overtime Helpful books and podcasts for personal development Getting rid of “tunnel vision”   Recommended book/podcast list: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth Mastery by Robert Greene Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by Jim Collins Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees Into Superior Performers by Dick Grote Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill The 5 AM Miracle Podcast The Mindvalley Podcast Hidden Brain Podcast   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/30/202233 minutes, 2 seconds
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Threaded Connection Tips - Short #149

In this short podcast episode, Bryan shares some of his top threaded connection tips. He also clears up some confusion about connection types. Threaded connections include flare and compression-type fittings (like chatleff or Aeroquip fittings). The threads don’t actually make the seal; the pressure pushing the surfaces together is what makes a seal.  Bryan doesn’t recommend putting traditional thread locks on flares, but refrigerant oil or mild assembly lubricants can help the flare come together more smoothly without imperfections. However, you need to be careful when using a torque wrench and use the lowest acceptable specification to avoid over-torquing.  Leaks are common problems with flare fittings, but those often happen in cases where flares are poorly made. Scored faces, loose flares, and over-torqued flares are common causes of leaks. However, many modern flaring tools can make perfect flares quite easily. You must also remember to deburr the copper for the best results. Compression-type fittings often have O-rings, which are the parts that actually do the sealing. (Leaks WILL happen without the O-ring in place.) You can use an assembly lubricant with these fittings, but you still have to be mindful of torque spec adjustments.  Pipe-thread connections actually rely on the threads, not pressure or an O-ring, to create a seal. Pipe dopes (or thread sealants) tend to be best on these connections, but you want to leave the last couple of threads bare so that pipe dope doesn’t get into the system. As with brazed and soldered joints, the copper used for threaded connections needs to be cleaned, cut squarely, and deburred for best results.  Bryan also covers: Assembly lubricants  Brazing vs. soldering Zoomlock IMC 1107.5.4 Protecting seals during brazing and soldering   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/28/202214 minutes, 53 seconds
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Giving Kids The Tools For Any Job They Want

Bryan explains how parents and educators can succeed at giving kids the tools for any job they want. This podcast was originally a presentation at the 2022 FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention. Jobs, careers, and vocations have changed a lot over the years. Even though those have changed over the years, parents still want their kids’ vocations to develop character, foster growth, and bring joy. While kids are young, parents can instill values of grit and diligence; however, parents have to overcome the challenges presented by the instant gratification provided by technology.  Interest-guided learning is a double-edged sword, as it allows a child to pursue their interests but can cut them off from the interest of others. Developing the values of kindness and deference can temper the negative effects of interest-guided learning while maintaining the benefits of interest-guided learning. If a child has an interest in something and can pursue that interest on their own by demonstrating autodidactism, they open themself up to a lot of vocational options. Nowadays, it’s a lot more common for people to hold many different jobs or vocations over their lifetime. Encouraging a child to learn different skills allows them to explore non-linear career paths more easily than children who don’t learn useful skills. When teaching children, developing mental models and an appreciation for learning is another key to success across vocations. Bryan also talks about: Vocation vs. avocation Grit vs. talent in the pursuit of success Modeling and practicing gratefulness Transferable skills Feeling “stuck” in a vocation Visualizing average molecular velocity Learning about humidity and electrical movement Striking a balance between joy, service, and passion Expectations vs. standards Pursuing college, business ownership, and other career opportunities   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/23/202253 minutes, 35 seconds
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ERV & HRV - Short #148

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about ERV and HRV technologies, including their appropriate applications and limitations. HRVs are heat recovery ventilators (not to be confused with heat recovery units or HRUs), and ERVs are energy recovery ventilators. The main difference between these two lies in the type of heat they move; HRVs only move sensible BTUs, whereas ERVs move sensible and latent BTUs.  As you bring air in from outside, you’re discharging roughly the same amount of air (though modern technologies allow you to manipulate the pressure a bit more). The goal of the HRV or ERV is to recover some energy from the air exiting the structure and incorporate it into the incoming airstream. The airstreams cross over each other, and there is heat transfer but not air mixing. (ERVs also allow for the exchange of moisture.) Two fans drive the direction of energy flow, and a mesh or a porous desiccant medium facilitates the interaction between the airstreams. You will get some energy savings with an HRV or ERV, but savings are dictated by the amount of air moved and the temperature differential between the airstreams. In general, you will see HRVs up north (in low-humidity markets) and ERVs down south (in higher latent-heat markets). However, even ERVs aren’t very effective in conditions with low energy transfer and high moisture UNLESS they’re used with a ventilating dehumidifier. Bringing in fresh air is good for indoor health and safety, as it helps dilute the presence of VOCs, viruses, and harmful gases. HRVs and ERVs help us manage the air we bring in. Bryan also covers: Integrating ERVs with bathroom ventilation Safety considerations to consider for outdoor air Positive pressurization Demand ventilation with CO2 sensors Learning about ASHRAE 62.2   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/21/202211 minutes, 30 seconds
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Refrigerant Changes Coming & The Helix w/ Emerson

Rajan Rajendran and Jennifer Butsch from Emerson join the podcast to discuss the Helix and some refrigerant changes that are coming. Jennifer is the Director of Regulatory Affairs, and Rajan is the Global Vice President for Environmental Sustainability and former director of the Emerson Helix. Lately, there have been more environmental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and plenty of large corporations have “net zero” initiatives. Sustainability requires a holistic, systemic approach in our industry; the Helix Innovation Center conducts the research needed for us to handle these sustainability initiatives as effectively and safely as possible. However, the sustainability initiatives frustrate a lot of technicians. There will likely be multiple refrigerant transitions as our industry progresses. Education and knowledge provided by manufacturers and HVAC organizations will be the key to smooth transitions. Many of the replacement refrigerants, including R-32 and R-454B, are A2Ls. These mildly flammable refrigerants have different handling, transportation, and charging procedures than what we’re used to. However, we are unlikely to see changes in oils; POE and PVE oil will likely remain dominant in the market. Eventually, we may see more GWP changes. We would also be prudent to focus on preventing and rectifying equipment leaks. Proper maintenance will help us navigate current and possible future changes. Rajan, Jennifer, and Bryan also discuss: The AIM Act and HFC reduction in 2024 GWP-limit petitions in HVAC vs. refrigeration Refrigerants that manufacturers are embracing Refrigerant testing processes Natural refrigerants The weight of refrigerants vs. the weight of air Evaporator coil manufacturing and leakage Built-in leak detection Refrigerant pricing   To learn more about these coming refrigerant changes, check out the AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force’s resources HERE or Emerson’s E360 Platform HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/16/202246 minutes, 23 seconds
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Pilot Controls - Short #147

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about pilot controls. He talks about the old-school ignition systems on gas appliances and some similar pilot functions on residential A/C units and heat pumps. When we think about a pilot light on a gas appliance, we can think of it as a small standing flame that sits there ready to ignite the burner whenever gas is flowing. Pilot lights were necessary for old-school gas furnaces, and many of those pilot lights worked with a thermocouple. In many older furnaces, pilots also prevent excessive carbon monoxide from unspent gas. In other words, the pilot is not the main burner; it merely sets up the main burner.  On a typical A/C system, the 24v power is similar to a pilot on a gas appliance; the 24v “pilot” control energizes the system and has a small amount of voltage (compared to the high voltage needed for all of the components to work).  The reversing valve on heat pumps also has a pilot valve; the 24v signal activates the pilot valve with the solenoid, which redirects system pressure to allow discharge gas to slide the valve. That’s also why you can’t shift the operating mode when the system is off. Solenoid valves in general tend to have pilot functions; they rely on a refrigerant pressure differential that results from 24v electrical signals, not the signal itself. In short, we don’t rely on the pilot light or the 24v electrical signal to power the entire equipment. Pilot controls merely help the equipment get started; they have less load on them and trigger or control parts and processes that are more complicated.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/14/20227 minutes, 1 second
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Ethics - Grit and Discipline

Bryan and Robert Orr continue their discussion about ethics by talking about what it means to have grit and discipline in business. They talk about what those characteristics look like in business and in life, and they mention some good books. Grit is a trait that can contribute to an ethical way of life; showing grit means that you follow through with a project until you get the results you want. Both physical and emotional grit are strengths, and those things tend to be more important than talent in our field.  Compared to discipline, grit is a lot more closely intertwined with a person’s emotional condition. When we encounter overwhelming negative emotions, grit is the quality that allows us to power through the current state of affairs. Discipline and grit are both based on commitment and resolve, but discipline deals more with actions rather than feelings. Discipline is more about habits, balance, and wisdom. A belief system or set of guidance is what drives discipline. Discipline can also be repetitious and boring, but it can take you farther than raw talent if you dedicate yourself to your belief system, sources of guidance, and goals. Developing discipline requires us to establish habits and sequence those habits. Good leaders and parents are the ones who establish those habits for employees or children.  However, something to keep in mind is that both grit and discipline can amplify a person’s bad characteristics. Robert and Bryan also discuss: Grit vs. talent (Angela Duckworth) Does grit count as an ethic? Discipline and delaying gratification Developing grit over time “Real” vs. “true” emotions and thoughts The downfalls of raw talent Thinking about obstacles in a healthy way   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/9/202225 minutes, 58 seconds
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Ethics - Integrity

Bryan and Robert Orr talk about ethics and what it means to have integrity when running a family business. Robert is a lifelong tradesman who is a licensed construction contractor, and he has overseen the construction side of Kalos for many years. Robert initially started off at the Air Force Academy and realized that he didn’t feel that the military was right for him. While in Florida, Robert fell into the trades and learned both hard skills and ethics in the process. He started his own house-wiring business at age 21. Later, he went into home inspection and eventually started a business with his son (Bryan) and his brother-in-law (Keith)  Kalos was co-founded by Bryan, Robert, and Keith, all of whom were tradesmen. Even when naming their business, they wanted to focus on ideals that extend beyond them and their individual legacies. They settled on the name “Kalos,” which is the Greek word for “integrity.”  Having integrity in business is a lot more than just following rules and “having principles.” Real integrity is authentic and honest; you’re transparent about who you are and deliver on the promises you make. Integrity and customer service are NOT the same thing, but you tend to yield higher customer satisfaction if integrity is at the forefront of your business. Evaluating yourself is also a component of integrity: reflecting on your desires, confronting greed, caring for employees, and choosing to do the right thing. In many small businesses that haven’t fully found their stride, integrity can be compromised by fear.  Robert and Bryan also discuss: Christianity in business Integrity as it relates to pricing expectations What it means to be savvy Taking responsibility   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
6/2/202233 minutes, 38 seconds
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Distributors and External Equalizers - Short #146

In this short podcast, Bryan talks about distributors and external equalizers and why we need to use them together. When older Carrier heat pumps (with pistons) would run in heat mode, the metering device would be outside. In those cases, the port on the liquid line would be on the opposite side of the metering device. So, you wouldn’t actually be measuring the liquid line pressure (high-side) if you measured it at that port while the system runs in heat mode. However, that pressure would be higher than the common suction pressure. That’s because distributors and distributor tubes also have a pressure drop associated with them AFTER the metering device.  Nowadays, TXV systems have external equalizers, which create an equalizing force inside the valve. The bulb pressure forces the valve open, and the equalizer pushes against that pressure to create a closing force. An internal equalizer would work fine on a system without a distributor or distributor tubes; however, those systems are few and far between. We need an external equalizer on systems with distributors because the pressure at the end of the evaporator coil is significantly lower than the pressure picked up by the valve. Without closing force, the TXV would theoretically force itself all the way open and flood the evaporator coil. External equalizers can get clogged, which results in a pressure buildup during the off cycle and forces the valve closed. They can sometimes get clogged when used on a Schrader port without a Schrader depressor inside the equalizer. Some people attempt to fabricate distributors in the field. It works in some cases, but in many cases, it’s best to use an engineered distributor for the best performance and efficiency. The distributors are individually designed to create an individual pressure drop.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/31/202210 minutes, 12 seconds
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Center-Tapped Transformers - Short #145

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks even more about sine waves and center-tapped transformers. Power is generated at the power plant when an energy source (such as steam) is used to drive a drive shaft. The resulting current can be mapped as sine waves, which actually represent points on a circle; there is a rotational magnetic field around stationary conductors, and the sine waves allow us to envision the positive and negative alternations as the rotation happens. Center-tapped transformers use “neutral” as a reference point. The secondary winding on a center-tapped transformer may have 240v power, but the center tap splits that 240v power into two legs of 120v power. There are two sine waves completely out of phase with each other, so we get 240v from peak to peak. Both sine waves cross at neutral. Even though the split-phase power consists of two separate sine waves, an oscilloscope would interpret the voltage as a single up-and-down wave with a higher peak and a lower valley. Center-tapped transformers do not necessarily create another phase of power; they merely turn neutral into a reference. If we were to measure that split-phase power as a single 120v sine wave with an oscilloscope, we would have to use neutral as our reference. To measure the separate sine waves for a total of 240v, we would need three probes: a reference at neutral and one reference on each side. Many European countries only use a single sine wave; center-tapped transformers are not commonplace in those countries, and neither is split-phase power. However, the split-phase power in the USA allows for more versatility; we can supply power to 120v appliances where we would otherwise need to use 240v ones.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/24/202211 minutes, 37 seconds
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Beer & Power Factor - Short #144

Bryan describes the tricky concept of power factor and why we should care about it. He also compares power factor to a beer mug to make the topic easier to understand. Power is often represented on a sine wave, which is a curvy line that marks the state of electrical energy at different points on a circle. Power gets stronger and weaker, and it goes above and below the neutral line depending on the excess or deficit of electrons. Unity power factor refers to a power factor of 1, indicating that voltage and amperage are perfectly balanced; there is no lag. However, an inductance (a form of resistance) opposes the current and causes an imbalance between current and voltage. Power loss or quality refers to the difference between the input and output power that results.  Apparent power refers to volt-amps, which we’d traditionally consider to be the wattage; however, in an inductive load, the true or real power (wattage) accounts for that power loss and comes from volts x amps x power factor. We can imagine power factor as a mug of beer: apparent power (VA) is the entire mug, the foam is reactive power (wasted), and the beer itself is real power. The power company only charges for the real power, not the reactive power. However, a power factor closer to unity can help prevent motor windings or wires from overheating. To get closer to unity power factor, we need to make sure we have a run capacitor of the correct size. You can measure power factor with a power quality meter. Bryan also covers: Voltage and current Root mean square Inductive reactance Capacitance and how capacitors work Transformer VA ratings   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/17/202215 minutes, 30 seconds
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Motor Speed Facts - Short #143

Bryan lays down some motor speed facts in about 10 minutes in this short podcast episode. We can figure out how quickly a single-phase motor (PSC) will run if we understand how many cycles it will make per second. In the USA, the standard hertz is 60 Hz (60 rotations or magnetic alternations per second). Motors are inductive loads that create an electromagnetic field with a spinning rotor and stationary stator; the amount of poles on the stator determines how quickly the rotor spins (RPM). In the RPM counts, there are some allowances for slip. Slip varies depending on the load, with excessive loads causing more slip. Some multi-tap blowers have additional winding resistance and decreased current (due to the extra taps), which increase the slip. The rated load RPM usually accounts for the RPM at high speed, not medium or low speed with added resistance. On the other hand, variable-speed motors or ECMs are powered by a variable frequency (sometimes a variable frequency drive or VFD). The motor control takes the incoming electrical frequency and converts it into a new frequency (turning AC power to DC and controlling the cycle rate). These motors also tend to be more efficient as a result. The RPM is more variable on these motors with VFDs, whereas we could only manipulate the RPM of single-phase motors by changing the number of poles. When replacing a motor, you can’t use a replacement motor with a higher rated RPM than the original motor. The only way to change the RPM is to get a new motor with a different number of poles, increase slip to make it slower or decrease slip to bring it closer to synchronous speed, or adjust the frequency.     If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/10/20229 minutes, 55 seconds
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Value Design in High Performance Home HVAC w/ Comfort Squad

Neil Comparetto and John Semmelhack of the Comfort Squad join Bryan to discuss high-quality value design in a high-performance home. They explain how they design HVAC systems (heat pumps) for low-load homes in ways that are affordable, efficient, and comfortable. High-performance, low-load homes need to be energy-efficient AND comfortable, and it can be a challenge to get both. Manual J calculations aren’t as common as they probably should be, and it can be difficult to get accurate data about air leakage, power consumption, and radiant gains as well. So, John and Neil try to collect their own data and do aggressive load calculations to avoid the fudge factors that are all too common. The air velocity inside the ducts tends to be lower in these sorts of systems. When you have relatively low airflow in the ductwork of high-performance homes, you don’t need as many ducts or for the ductwork to be particularly large. With minimalistic ductwork, supply register placement, face velocity, and throw become very important, especially because those factors are responsible for air mixing. When the duct design conditions are right and the load has been matched, you typically get long runtimes and good air mixing. In many cases, John and Neil use variable-speed motors in their outdoor units that allow for high heating performance. The capacity ranges are wide, allowing the units to run even during exceptionally low-load conditions. They also use flex ducts due to their pre-insulation, noise suppression, and inexpensiveness; they just try to keep it sealed and avoid compressing the ductwork.  Neil, John, and Bryan also discuss: Monitoring load conditions with software Design considerations for filter grilles and central returns Room pressurization and airflow testing Transfer grilles The Coanda effect and curved-blade registers Vent sizing Flex duct installation best practices Duct fittings ERVs   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
5/5/202253 minutes, 32 seconds
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Putting Contractor Success First w/ METUS

Lacey Dietz with METUS and Scott Arnold with Rycor HVAC join the podcast to talk about how the industry can start putting contractor success first. They talk about Mitsubishi Electric (METUS)’s commitment to contractor success and what that looks like. METUS’s contractor program aims to provide training, support, and recognition to create a community of successful contractors. Support comes in the form of marketing, training, tech support, and customer service, and those services are available to contractors who sell and represent Mitsubishi’s products. As a contractor who works with Mitsubishi, Scott has been able to specialize the labor in his business and grow his business as one that specializes in installing Mitsubishi systems. Mitsubishi also provided top-quality training and allowed Scott to streamline his training process and get his apprentices feeling confident and ready to go into the field quickly. Adoption rates for Mitsubishi’s ductless technology have increased over the past couple of years, especially as people have spent more time in their homes and started re-thinking indoor comfort. Those who are educated about heat pumps also tend to appreciate the technology as well as the mini-split units’ small footprints in their homes. The mini-split units’ smaller environmental impact than unitary systems is also a plus.  Lacey, Scott, and Bryan also discuss: Scott’s work with heat pumps in New York Programs that benefit contractors Mitsubishi’s products and supply chain management Diamond Contractor program and tiered contractors Mitsubishi’s lead generation program and referrals Ductless vs. unitary systems Bringing education into sales Dealing with business growth in a challenging labor market Overcoming objections   Learn more about Mitsubishi and its products, visit https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/, and you can learn how to become a contractor at https://discover.mitsubishicomfort.com/contractors.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/28/202236 minutes, 43 seconds
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Retrotec - IBS 2022

Sam Myers with Retrotec talks to Bryan about pressures in the home and why they matter for HVAC solutions at IBS 2022. Technicians focus a lot on ductwork and airflow, but many of them don’t focus on how the building envelope impacts HVAC performance. A lot of the HVAC equipment’s performance is affected by the push and pull of air caused by leaky areas in the building envelope. If you have a room with too much air and another room with too little, you will have unbalanced pressures. Unbalanced pressures may result in discomfort and latent load issues, especially when unconditioned air is pulled in through the attic. Sealing the envelope well and using dampers as necessary can minimize the comfort issues caused by pressure imbalances in the home. Instead of just using manometers for static and gas pressure, we can also use high-resolution manometers under doors to pick up pressure differences. However, the manometer MUST be high-res to pick up those subtle (but palpable) differences in pressure. A blower door is also a great tool, especially when you use it with a thermal imaging camera; the blower door amplifies the temperature effects that a thermal camera will detect, especially if you also have a good delta T.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/26/20228 minutes, 40 seconds
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Birmingham training class

This podcast is a class that Bryan taught for BTrained in Birmingham, AL. He covers troubleshooting, installation, and commissioning best practices with a focus on the fundamentals. To be a good troubleshooter, you must be able to find the problem, identify the source of the problem, fix the problem, and optimize performance based on your data, the customer’s comments, and your observations. The Five Pillars of diagnosis aren’t comprehensive diagnostic or charging criteria, but they can help you charge or diagnose a system. Isolation diagnosis works best for electrical components; you isolate the problem area from the system and see how the system works without the suspected issue. If the system operates normally without the component in question, then we can conclude that our hypothesis about the “problem” part was correct. Wide-narrow-wide troubleshooting is an approach that allows you to inspect the entire system, zero in on the problem, and optimize the entire system. By starting wide, going narrow, and going wide again, you can troubleshoot holistically. Installations take place in several phases: pre-planning, planning, demo, installation, and commissioning. Many people place a lot of emphasis on the demo and installation and neglect the conversations and procedures associated with pre-planning, planning, and commissioning. Bryan also covers: Heuristics and mental shortcuts Evaporation vs. boiling Rules of thumb Head pressure, suction pressure, and compression ratio Energy transfer fundamentals What superheat and subcooling really indicate Restrictions and temperature drop Delta T “Redneck” compressor test Testing circuits Useful measurements and test instrumentation Causes of compressor failure Measuring airflow Low vs. high static pressure Bringing tribal knowledge to building design Ductless systems, ventilating dehumidification, and sensible heat ratio Manual J, attics, and combustion air Radiant barriers and heat transfer Supply relative humidity Dehumidifier configuration and system design Bad envelopes Vented attics Duct upgrades Total effective length and turning vanes Evacuation   Learn more about BTrained at https://btrained.net/ or on the BTrained YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnlDsWHT68gVwPrYYO5vhrw.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/21/20222 hours, 42 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ross Trethewey IBS 2022 - Short #141

Bryan has a bit of an industry nerd out with Ross Trethewey from “This Old House” and TE2 Engineering at IBS 2022 (the International Builders’ Show). Ross’s education and career have focused on mechanical engineering, especially with sustainable solutions. In building science, the key mindset is to think of the building as a system. Using that school of thought, Ross has developed building science and HVAC solutions that also consider indoor air quality and ventilation, such as hybrid VRF systems.  Many of Ross’s solutions take the best aspects of air-source and ground-source heat pumps and apply those to hydronics. Some exciting applications for those types of systems could include simultaneous heating and cooling as well as the integration of domestic hot water. Demand control ventilation has been used for a long time in the commercial world, but its possible use in residential applications is another exciting thing to consider. With proper control devices, DCV would give us the opportunity to control temperature, humidity, VOCs, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and radon. In residential applications, DCV has to be a delicate balancing act, as bringing in too much outdoor air would require us to condition that air. High latent loads also present challenges to some of the ventilation solutions in development. Serviceability is another challenge to DCV usage in residential applications; whenever an innovative system is brought to the market, very few people will know how to fix and maintain those systems. One of the possible solutions is to create instruction manuals and give education similar to what already exists for package units. 3D models and animations also help make complicated systems easier to understand. Ross’s presence on “This Old House” marks the third generation of Tretheweys on the show. Ross is excited to talk about building science and HVAC innovations and concepts while on the show. Heat pumps are also getting better, especially due to inverter-driven compressors, enhanced vapor injection, advanced control systems, and ECMs. Heat pumps are safer than gas-fired equipment, and we have made them work well in subzero temperatures (because we’re nowhere near absolute zero). If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/19/202215 minutes, 21 seconds
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Replacing a Compressor - Step by Step

In this podcast, Bryan goes through the entire process of replacing a compressor step-by-step. This process is what the Kalos team uses to replace a failed compressor and make sure it doesn’t fail again. Before replacing a compressor, you must figure out how the compressor failed; grounded conditions often lead to acid, so it’s a good idea to test for acid and see if you need to address a burnout. In any case, make sure you have the correct tools for the job (including a compatible replacement compressor). When you arrive at the job site, be sure to confirm the diagnosis and check to see if the unit has a hard start kit. That’s also the time to do a visual inspection, checking airflow as well as the filter, blower, and coil cleanliness. Recover and weigh out the refrigerant charge. Unscrew the foot bolts and lift the old compressor out. Then, seal the compressor once it’s out. If you’re dealing with burnout, clean out or replace the accumulator (you will install/reinstall it shortly). Cut out and replace the existing liquid line drier and install a suction drier in a place where it can be easily removed.   When piping in the new compressor, make sure you protect heat-sensitive parts and do a quality brazing job. Install the new capacitor and hard start kit, too, keeping wiring away from places where it may chafe. Test for leaks, evacuate the system, charge the system, and check your five pillars as well as voltage. Finish by cleaning the drain and double-checking airflow. Bryan also covers: Misdiagnosed compressor failure Parts needed for replacing a compressor What makes a compatible replacement compressor? Billing and pricing Alloys and fluxes Replacing TXVs, capacitors, contactors, and reversing valves Cutting vs. unsweating  Suction driers and pressure drop Charging considerations   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/14/202239 minutes, 39 seconds
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Refrigerant Top off, Drop in and Retrofit - Short #140

In this short podcast, Bryan explains what it means to top off, drop in, and retrofit refrigerants. He describes the differences between those three things to dispel some of the confusion they may cause. Topping off a system means that you add refrigerant to a low existing charge to get it back up to a normal level. In some cases, people top off systems with dissimilar refrigerants (e.g., topping off R-22 systems with cheaper R-407C). Topping off a system with a dissimilar refrigerant is unacceptable, as it’s against EPA guidelines and leaves you with an undefined refrigerant mixture. You’re only supposed to top off a system with the same refrigerant that’s already in it. High-glide refrigerant blends can be tricky to top off when there is a leak, as one refrigerant type may leak more quickly than the other and leave you with a different chemical profile. So, you’re better off recovering and starting over when you have lost a significant amount of charge to a leak. If you want to recharge an entire system by recovering the existing charge, you would instead be using a “drop-in” refrigerant. There are no drop-in solutions for R-410A systems. However, some commercial equipment manufacturers can offer information about drop-in solutions, though they are relatively rare, especially as oil has changed over the years. When you drop in refrigerant, you don’t have to change O-rings, Schrader cores, or other components. Drop-ins are NOT necessarily like-for-like when it comes to charging.  “Retrofit” is a relatively broad term that refers to any type of refrigerant change. The retrofitting practices that may have worked for A1 CFC systems to A1 HCFC systems will NOT work for A1 to A2L refrigerants. We need new installations for flammable refrigerant systems.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/12/20228 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Value of Networking for Techs w/ Trevor

Trevor Matthews, the founder of Refrigeration Mentor, is back on the podcast. This time, he and Bryan talk about the value of networking for HVAC techs as the conference season comes to a close. Many trade events are networking opportunities that allow you to build relationships with other tradespeople, educators, mentors, and even other companies. You can also learn many trade and business tools that help you as a technician. Many technical and business conversations occur at trade events, and there is a lot to learn from those, whether you’re directly involved or just listening. It can also be useful to sit in on classes or presentations about topics that you don’t directly deal with, such as building science. Networking also has value for technicians because it can provide several means of personal development. Making connections with potential mentors can open the doors to new career opportunities, even in places where you wouldn’t have expected yourself to work.  If you see someone you want to talk to at an event, feel free to go up and talk to them. Trade events are places where people expect to get to know one another, so many of the people who attend them genuinely want to talk to others in the trade. People like Trevor are happy to share their knowledge and help you develop yourself as a technician. You can also send people emails introducing yourself to them before the event if you’re a bit introverted and uncomfortable putting yourself out there. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Being isolated in a “bubble” Choosing to work or visit conferences Networking to avoid getting stuck Planning trips around trade conferences  The 2023 HVACR Training Symposium Specialized conferences Refrigeration Mentor   Learn more about Trevor’s work at https://refrigerationmentor.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
4/7/202229 minutes, 49 seconds
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How to EFFECTIVELY implement educational growth w/ David Richardson

David Richardson of NCI joins the HVAC School podcast to talk about how we can implement educational growth effectively throughout the trade. NCI started as a premium training resource about airflow testing, but the organization eventually started teaching about combustion testing as well. When we improve the industry, we need to be able to have concrete ways to see what we’ve been doing wrong or what we can do better. Test instruments allow us to see the whats and whys behind what we do. Education needs to be focused on bringing those test instruments into training AND teaching others how to use them properly.  Once we find a way to understand the invisible aspects of what we do, we can get into systems thinking and grasp the more abstract concepts much more easily. When people are introduced to concepts in a logical sequence, they can build their knowledge on what affects the system and why it does do.   When we tie everything together, including using solid data, testing in and testing out, and using sources to help you interpret data, we can implement educational growth more effectively. Most of all, we can learn how to translate the technical into practical, which helps us communicate with the customers in ways that matter. However, the most important thing about test instrumentation and applying it to learning is understanding why you are doing those tests or why you want to do them. David and Bryan also discuss: The purpose of traverse tests The mechanics of NCI’s teaching (PATH to performance) To charge or not to charge for combustion analysis What NCI does and how to get involved with NCI   Learn more about NCI or get involved with their training at https://nationalcomfortinstitute.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/24/202234 minutes, 45 seconds
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Comfort Investigation on TV w/ Corbett Lunsford

Corbett Lunsford of Home Diagnosis joins Kaleb to record a podcast about comfort investigation on TV. The two of them discuss how comfort investigation works on TV shows, what Home Diagnosis hopes to accomplish, and some building performance tips. Home Diagnosis is mostly aimed at homeowners, but HVAC technicians would also benefit from the show, as it dives into science and testing. The show promotes consumer education and contractor accountability. Diagnostics and testing are absolute MUSTS for providing the best possible solutions and transforming your business. You put yourself in another league when you take measurements and have the data to create tailored solutions. In other words, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if you’re not testing, you’re guessing. The current paradigm shift in the industry has to do with custom designs. Physics, chemistry, and microbiology are all important facets of applied science to consider when coming up with a custom solution. Many buildings have distinct microbiological profiles, including bakeries with yeast or cheese production or aging facilities. Natural events and human activity can change these buildings’ microbiological profiles. Ventilation is part of the equation of home performance, and it’s a pretty delicate one that HVAC techs can control. When it comes to ventilation, we would be wise to avoid selling products we don’t understand. Ventilation solutions may also be appropriate for one structure but inappropriate for another, so we need to think about the applications of these solutions. Corbett and Kaleb also discuss: Comfort vs. efficiency vs. control ERVs vs. HRVs and humidity How the market influences custom solutions Preview of challenges in Season 3 of Home Diagnosis Microbiology of structures   Learn more about Home Diagnosis at https://homediagnosis.tv/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/20/202218 minutes, 9 seconds
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Commercial HVAC Predictive Control w/ BrainBox AI

Blake Standen and Omar Tabba of BrainBox AI join the HVAC School podcast to talk about commercial HVAC predictive control. This conversation focuses on applying artificial intelligence to existing building systems, including the HVAC, to predict performance under certain weather and occupancy conditions. If you have controls that can predict performance and adapt, then you can maximize energy savings. A commercial HVAC system may include air handlers, chillers, boilers, RTUs, and all sorts of energy-consuming technologies. These systems also have controls that help direct the infrastructure, and artificial intelligence can help optimize the controls, make performance predictions based on forecast data, and make those controls communicate with foreign controls from other companies (such as via BACnet).  BrainBox AI uses a cloud to collect and hold the data it needs to predict what a building will do and help control the infrastructure. Controls react to errors, and the goal of BrainBox AI is to predict errors before they happen. For example, AI can help solve short cycling under certain weather conditions. However, buildings that use pneumatics rather than digital controls and older systems may not be good candidates for AI solutions. One of AI’s challenges is that it requires multiple layers of training: you’re training the controls engineers, facilities staff, AND the AI itself. Another challenge of AI is that people don’t fully understand that it’s not the type of automation that takes people’s jobs; we can minimize those perceptions with education.  Blake, Omar, and Bryan also discuss: Machine learning vs. artificial intelligence Accuracy of prediction models Virtual testing environments Apathy as a challenge What happens when controls go offline or are adjusted? Tethered services Application programming interface (API) Controlling comfort and energy consumption vs. greenhouse gas emissions BrainBox’s global partnership with ABB   Learn more at https://www.brainboxai.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/17/202241 minutes, 13 seconds
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3 Phase Energy Savings w/ Falkonair

Chris Micallef, the CEO of Falkonair, joins Nathan Orr at AHR to discuss energy savings for three-phase equipment. They also explore some of Falkonair’s controls for compressors, especially on DC inverter equipment. Falkonair has software that allows users to control all types and brands of three-phase compressors with compatible variable frequency drives (VFDs). The software recommends the compatible VFD based on the amperage readings. Falkonair aims to bring this software to the refrigeration industry and then move on to HVAC contractors and data centers. The control unit adjusts the compressor speed to respond to changes in refrigerant charge levels (based on discharge temperature). These controls protect the compressor and maintain efficiency, even under less than ideal operating conditions. Energy efficiency can increase by 35% with Falkonair’s control units in place. You can expect longer runtimes, a reduction in short cycles, and a reduction in humidity. If the refrigerant loss is too great, then the control can also shut down the compressor. However, it should take less time for a facility manager to notice that refrigerant loss is happening. The controls use temperature probes, so they don’t cut into the refrigeration circuit. Although VFDs are good for reducing vibrational wear and tear, we have to be aware of potential issues with harmonics. Harmonics can damage the bearings, especially on pumps that don’t have oil constantly lubricating the bearings. Chris and Nathan also discuss: VFD sizing considerations How Falkonair’s AI works with hot gas bypass  Software commissioning Oil return sequences on DC inverter systems Hertz ranges and limitations per compressor type How Falkonair’s control units can exceed 35% efficiency gains   Learn more about Falkonair at https://falkonair.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/16/202226 minutes, 19 seconds
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Internal Apprenticeship w/ Brynn Cooksey

Brynn Cooksey joined Eric Kaiser for a podcast about internal apprenticeship, its benefits, and how to make it work. Brynn is the general manager of Air Doctors Heating and Cooling LLC, a well-respected HVAC contracting company in Detroit, MI. Air Doctors Heating and Cooling LLC has its own in-house apprenticeship program based on Department of Labor guidelines. The apprenticeship program caters to new techs out of trade school and focuses on rigorous training. There is some administrative paperwork, but there are no additional administrative expenses. The only expenses of the apprenticeship program come from training and wages. Most of the administrative work comes from recordkeeping. Bumps in pay come with milestones, and RSES certification is available at the highest level of Brynn’s program. Once techs receive their RSES CM, they become official journeymen and continue to learn more about the trade through incentivized training.  The technicians at Air Doctors seem to like the training program. The program is very structured when it comes to training, hours, and pay, so the techs like predictability. Reduced callback rates are positive effects of the apprenticeship program; Brynn’s current callback rate is less than 1% (was 3% before the program was put into place). The apprenticeship program is easy to set up with the government, and it makes companies eligible for national and local grants. Approved apprenticeship programs can also take advantage of other benefits, including labor scouting to grow the workforce. Everything about the apprenticeship program recognition process was free. Many businesses can take advantage of these programs to grow their workforce and train promising technicians who can transform the business.   Email Brynn for more information at [email protected]   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/15/20228 minutes, 28 seconds
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New Educational Options w/ Faraday

Alex and Nicole of Faraday join Kaleb Saleeby and Ty Branaman to talk about new educational formats and options in the HVAC industry. Alex is the founder of Faraday, and Nicole is the head of operations. Ty is a notable HVAC educator who supports Faraday and its mission. Faraday is a free educational program that prepares apprenticeships for fieldwork, allows them to get EPA 608 certification, and helps place them in jobs with paid training. Although the program is free, there is a rigorous selection process to make sure only the most serious candidates join the program. The human aspect is very important to training, and Ty is one of the people who brings that to education programs. HVAC training is multifaceted, and the appliances are just the beginning. Training focuses on science and math as well as craftsmanship, which isn’t what a lot of people think about when they think of HVAC. Faraday focuses on bringing the abstract and artistic concepts of the trade to training. However, Faraday also acknowledges just how important skills are to a person’s career and life in general. Faraday also has live sessions with guest speakers, and these are available to current students and alumni. Lifelong learning and investment are important to Faraday, and the programs create a support system for students even after completion. Alex, Nicole, Ty, and Kaleb also discuss: Faraday’s admissions process Ty’s contributions to education and the industry Bringing the Masterclass format and delivery to HVAC The ambitions, interests, and fears of young people Costs of training Using Discord for communication and training Teaching life skills Faraday’s vetting, coaching, and weed-out processes Producing coachable, well-rounded individuals   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/13/202225 minutes, 43 seconds
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HVAC Social Media, AHR & AMRAD Capacitors w/ HVAC_ASH

Ashley (aka hvac_ash) joins the podcast to talk about how HVAC fits into social media, AHR 2022, and AmRad capacitors. Ashley works with Global the Source on the sales and distribution side of the business. Becoming an HVAC influencer is smart, especially when there is a dedicated audience in the industry. When you gain traction online, that can branch into marketing, which helps get the word out even more. It’s also a great way to make connections organically once you have traction and learn from others’ industry-related content. Ashley also has firsthand experience with the HVAC trade’s obstacles for women. She believes that making groups like Women in HVACR more marketable and focusing on recruiting young women will help break those barriers down. There needs to be more effort to the recruiting process than just posting ads and job postings on social media. Global the Source is a distributor of AmRad products, including the well-known American-made capacitors and Turbo line of start capacitors (Turbolytic) and hard start kits (TES5). The quality of the AmRad capacitors’ foil and the oil has been tested widely, even on the HVAC School YouTube channel; the conclusion is that AmRad capacitors are made of high-quality materials and last longer than many others. Ashley and Bryan also discuss: What it means to be a master distributor Being an HVAC influencer on Instagram Visiting AHR as an influencer and sales professional Strategic recruiting for underrepresented demographics AmRad’s Turbo product family New AmRad products for failed run capacitors and stuck relays   Follow Ashley on Instagram (hvac_ash) and DM her with questions or email her at [email protected]. Learn more about Global the Source and some of the AmRad products at https://globalthesource.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/10/202236 minutes, 12 seconds
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Net Zero HVAC w/ Bill Spohn, Eric Kaiser and Kaleb Saleeby

Bill Spohn joins Eric Kaiser and Kaleb Saleeby at AHR 2022 to talk about his experiences designing and living in a home with NetZero HVAC.  NetZero HVAC refers to system design with tight coordination with the house to make it as efficient as possible. Some of these systems are so tight and efficient that they approach passive house standards (0.6 ACH50). Bill lives in a modular home that also generates more energy than it consumes, and it doesn’t rely on natural gas. The greatest expenses of Bill’s NetZero home came from all the custom factors, as it didn’t make sense to price many of the features on a square-foot basis. The heating and cooling system is also unique, as it is completely separate from the ventilation system, which is a Build Equinox CERV. On the IAQ side, the CERV monitors outdoor temperature and humidity, indoor CO2, and indoor VOCs. Bill also has a HAVEN central air monitor inside the CERV system as a backup. Bill’s HVAC system is an air-source heat pump that provides two tons of heating and cooling and has low-temperature capabilities. The two-ton unit works for a 4400-square-foot home. Bill, Eric, and Kaleb also discuss: Energy independence Controlling radiant heat gains and window construction Construction and material fabrication Monitoring energy usage Energy recovery ventilation (ERVs) Thermal bridging at work in Bill’s walls Knowledgeable customers Jim Bergmann’s help with troubleshooting Radon issues Bill’s podcast Solar inverters Measuring tool accuracy   You can learn more by listening to Bill's podcast, Building HVAC Science. You can subscribe to the podcast on any podcast app of your choice or get an overview at https://buildinghvacscience.libsyn.com/. You can also check out Bill’s blog at https://spohnhome.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/10/20221 hour, 1 minute, 30 seconds
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Data Logging w/ Collin Olson and Eric Kaiser

Collin Olson, the staff physicist of The Energy Conservatory (TEC), joins Eric Kaiser at AHR 2022 to talk a bit about data logging. Data logging refers to the act of using sensors to record data over time and then analyzing that data. TEC dipped its toes into data logging with the APT and then TECLOG. Data logging allows us to take and store multiple readings as well as extrapolate data into graphs, making it easier to analyze performance. The TECLOG4 software is the most up-to-date version. TECLOG is a simple software to use with basic training. The understanding of building science continues over a lifetime, but the actual software can be learned in approximately 30 minutes. TECLOG is free with TEC’s hardware, such as the DG-1000. To get started, all you need is a precision manometer and a computer. However, it’s worth nothing that the DG-1000 stores a lot of data, meaning that you can launch data logging sessions on the gauge without your computer. Some of the most important measurements are related to drafts and backdrafting. There are 250 Pascals in an inch of water column, and the DG-1000 can pick up very small changes in the Pascals and can indicate when depressurization happens and when it poses a risk. Improperly installed vents can also produce alarming drafting conditions due to air density; data logging can pick up that sort of information. Collin and Eric also discuss: The history of TEC’s APT Wind and its effect on building pressures Event markers and hotkeys The link between depressurization, flue gases, and weather conditions Managing multiple blower doors at a time   Check out TEC’s software, including TECLOG4, at https://energyconservatory.com/downloads/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/9/202235 minutes, 40 seconds
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Unique K-12 HVAC Incentives, Commercial Regulation Changes and More w/ Mark Tozzi from Carrier

Mark Tozzi from Carrier comes on the HVAC School podcast to talk about unique HVAC incentives in K-12 schools. When schools closed down during COVID-19 lockdowns, a new series of incentives came out for schools. Many of these incentives include access to technology, and improvements to HVACR equipment are covered under those programs. Schools can benefit from geography-tailored solutions, including air-cooled chillers in the Southeast and products meant to improve IAQ, including filtration upgrades and dehumidification strategies. To provide valuable solutions to schools, HVACR professionals and manufacturers need to get involved in local conversations, such as on school boards or at the district level. The incentive is quite broad, and it provides schools AND HVACR professionals with many opportunities. The funds need to be spent by 2023, so we can focus on doing business with schools this year. However, as we seize these opportunities to help our communities, we also need to make sure that we have the labor, training, and ambassadorship to make these initiatives successful. As an industry, we need to focus on recruitment and training to stimulate interest in the industry. Not to mention, as equipment advances, technicians need to be able to catch up with newer technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has put our industry into the spotlight, and people are paying more attention to their air quality and our work than ever before. Through community opportunities, recruitment, and education, we can hope to improve our industry. Mark and Bryan also discuss: OptiClean air scrubbers Buy boards How the HVAC industry might appeal to younger generations When are HVAC contractors seen as valuable to the general public?   Learn more at carrier.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/8/202223 minutes, 34 seconds
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Changing HVAC Regulations w/ Chris Forth of Johnson Controls

Chris Forth, the VP of regulatory codes and environmental affairs at Johnson Controls, joins Bryan for a live podcast at AHR 2022. This time, they discuss changing HVAC regulations and what that will mean for contractors, technicians, and installers. Johnson Controls focuses on institutional chillers, controls with digital platforms, air handlers, filtration, and alarm systems. Lately, Chris has gotten the industry ready to convert existing products and systems to high-efficiency equipment for low-GWP, A2L refrigerants. The transition to A2L refrigerants will be different from the transition from R-22 to R-410A. We needed to change the oil type (mineral oil to POE) and make equipment for different pressures when we went from R-22 to R-410A. However, the pressure and oil needs of A2L refrigerants are very similar to R-410A; the main obstacle is dealing with mild flammability. Every six years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets minimum efficiency standards, and they determined that it’s time for an upgrade. In other words, 14-SEER straight-cool A/C systems will no longer cut it in some places. In the Southeast, equipment that doesn’t meet the new standards must be INSTALLED before 2023. (In other cases, the date of manufacturing is what matters.) Now, contractors need to be sure that they can install 14-SEER units before 2023 if they order them. Otherwise, contractors may be better off ordering 15-SEER units now to ensure that they can install the equipment. Chris and Bryan also discuss: North vs. south efficiency ratings AHRI match How manufacturers will be affected by these regulations American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) The self-extinguishing properties of A2L refrigerants   Learn more about Johnson Controls at https://www.johnsoncontrols.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/6/202214 minutes, 4 seconds
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Control Over IAQ w/ Kevin Hart from Haven

Kevin Hart, the CEO of HAVEN, joins Kaleb Saleeby live from AHR 2022 to discuss how we can control IAQ with central air monitors and controllers. HAVEN, formerly TZOA, is an IAQ company that focuses on protecting building occupants’ health by controlling air quality. HAVEN’s approach to managing IAQ starts with collecting data about the air. Without that data, we can’t come up with solutions tailored to individual buildings. We need sensors to gather that data, which would traditionally mean that we’d need a decentralized system with sensors everywhere. However, HAVEN takes a centralized approach to measuring and controlling indoor air quality. HAVEN’s central air monitoring system is not an ordinary box product. Monitors constantly provide data that help HVAC professionals find points of improvement in a home and form a solid professional relationship with homeowners. The goal is to use data as a bridge to connect the homeowner and contractor as well as build trust. One of HAVEN’s new projects is to expand into remote HVAC diagnostics. The search for deviations in heating, cooling, and comfort will allow HAVEN to get more involved in the HVAC industry and communicate diagnostic help and solutions more effectively.   Kevin and Kaleb also discuss: HAVEN’s name and vision Avoiding false positives for harmful substances with centralized monitoring Equipment longevity Stagnancy of air in homes in moderate climates The issue with constant 50% relative humidity Outdoor air quality and comparative analysis IAQ as a luxury rather than a necessity Predictions for the HVAC industry   Learn more at https://haveniaq.com/ or become a HAVEN Pro today at https://pro.haveniaq.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/3/202225 minutes, 54 seconds
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A FASCINATING New Power Generation / Water Heating Solution w/ Enginuity

Jacques Beaudry-Losique, the CEO of Enginuity Power Systems, joins Nathan Orr live at AHR 2022. Enginuity manufactures energy-efficient engines that produce more power than traditional engines and recover waste heat to act as water heaters. Enginuity engines can run on propane and natural gas to help you run almost entirely off the grid and participate in electricity buyback programs. These units operate independently of the electrical grid and can act as generators during power outages and have a small footprint. However, a backup battery system is recommended for these units to maximize efficiency. Enginuity has a residential and commercial line. The E | ONE is best suited for residential applications, and the E | TWO is better for heavier commercial applications. The U.S. Army has been one of the most prominent supporters of Enginuity, which also manufactures its units exclusively in America. Distribution is done through a third party, including business owners and technicians; Enginuity doesn’t deal directly with homeowners or building staff. As a result, A/C service technicians, installers, plumbers, and refrigeration technicians may end up being the people in the middle who do maintenance on Enginuity generators. After this conversation with Jacques, we are very interested in seeing what the future holds for Enginuity and combined appliances. Jacques and Nathan also discuss: The electrical grid’s stability Enginuity’s revolutionary piston design Ease of startup and commissioning Pricing questions Enginuity’s target market and training resources for that target market Engine life expectancy Enginuity’s projected rollout timeline and expansion plans Decentralizing power dependence Solar vs. fossil fuel energy The problem with power plants   Learn more about Enginuity at https://enginuitypowersystems.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/2/202233 minutes, 25 seconds
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Samsung Ductless LIVE From AHR - Short #139

Rick Nadeau, Director of Training and Technical Services at Samsung, talks with Kaleb Saleeby live from AHR. He explains some of the exciting ductless solutions that Samsung has to offer. Samsung’s WindFree mini-split systems work with VRF systems or as normal ductless units. The WindFree product line is best known for preventing drafts due to microholes. These systems come in one-way and four-way cassettes and work very well for sensitive environments like nursing homes and bedrooms.  These units also have humidity sensors that let the units know when it would and wouldn’t be acceptable to go into WindFree mode. Samsung’s systems may also have occupancy sensors, which determine when they can turn on to provide comfort and flexibility. The systems also have the capability to determine when the system is losing refrigerant to prevent major environmental and performance issues. Samsung has MaxHeat technology, which allows a system to have 100% heating capacity in low-ambient temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the lack of reliance on auxiliary heat can reduce energy consumption and costs under most conditions. In general, much of Samsung’s innovative technology is introduced across entire product lines. In the commercial sphere, Samsung’s DVM S is an influential modular chiller and water heating system. Its flexible design (thanks to VRF technology) has made it a popular choice for product storage in vineyards. The DVM S Eco also has heat recovery capabilities. Rick and Kaleb also discuss: Stratification prevention and high-ceiling configurations Air velocity and unit cleanliness Refrigerant loss detection   Learn more about Samsung’s ductless systems and online training programs at https://www.samsunghvac.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
3/1/202220 minutes, 36 seconds
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How to ACTUALLY Measure Airflow w/ Steve Rogers and Eric Kaiser

Steve Rogers from The Energy Conservatory (TEC) joins Eric Kaiser to talk about airflow measurement at AHR 2022. Steve is an expert in fluid dynamics and flow measurement, and he is a trainer in addition to being the president and CEO of TEC. Airflow is one of the most critical elements of an HVAC system; it allows us to move the correct amount of BTUs to condition the air properly. We have various ways of measuring system airflow and airflow to a space. We can use the TrueFlow grid for the former and flow hoods for the latter. When it comes to measuring airflow, calibrating the instrumentation is crucial. TEC uses a laboratory-grade orifice plate to calibrate the tools. So, the calibration process manages to yield high accuracy while using a low-maintenance device. To begin measuring airflow properly, start taking the total external static pressure (TESP) and looking at fan charts. TESP doesn’t actually measure airflow, but it provides an idea of what the airflow might be like, and it’s a practical, useful measurement in the field. The TEC TrueFlow grid has recently been upgraded, and it’s a good step up from taking the TESP and referencing fan charts. It goes into the filter slot and measures the CFM per ton as well as the static pressure. Steve and Eric also discuss: Airflow’s effect on latent and sensible cooling Blower door setups and chambers References for accuracy  Relationship between static pressure and airflow Is the hand-ometer an acceptable form of airflow measurement? Challenges of pitot tubes and hot-wire anemometers   Learn more about The Energy Conservatory at https://energyconservatory.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/27/202229 minutes, 21 seconds
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Commercial Rack Refrigeration Component Identification

Brett Wetzel and Kevin Compass from the Advanced Refrigeration Podcast join us to discuss commercial rack refrigeration and identify components. In supermarket racks, we typically have anywhere from 2-5 compressors on a single rack (with multiple evaporators, metering devices, and sometimes even condensers). These compressors may come in several varieties (including screw and scroll) and be digital or have VFDs. They also have common suction and discharge headers.  The compressors all share oil from a single system. Oil separators can come in three varieties: centrifugal, impingement, and coalescing (most efficient). The separator would feed into the reservoir, which stores oil.  Many rack systems use several different valves. Check valves to direct the refrigerant flow, especially on heat reclaim systems and split condensers. In some cases, there is a three-way valve or a solenoid valve that controls or stops the refrigerant flow. LDR (liquid differential regulating) valves maintain the required differentials during defrost. Ball valves can be found all over a rack (liquid line, suction line, discharge line, etc.) and can isolate a line. Standard and balanced-port TXVs or EEVs may also appear on racks. There is also an EPR, which controls evaporator temperature and pressure. Grocery systems have a drop leg before the receiver, which stores liquid refrigerant. We want a full column of liquid leaving the receiver, which we can confirm with a sight glass rather than subcooling. Brett, Kevin, and Bryan also discuss: Reheat and excess heat Split condensers Drain leg/drop leg vs. liquid line Mechanical subcooling and heat exchangers Counterflow piping Hot gas vs. Kool gas defrost Standard vs. balanced-port TXVs Distributors Evaporator fin spacing Cleaning components   Check out the Advanced Refrigeration Podcast on any podcast app of your choosing. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/24/202252 minutes, 32 seconds
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Universal Boards and Controls w/ Eric K. and Jim F. LIVE from AHR

Jim Fultz from Emerson joins Eric Kaiser at AHR to share his knowledge of universal boards and controls. Jim’s work focuses on electronic controls within the White-Rodgers brand. Common White-Rodgers universal controls include the SureSwitch and universal defrost controls. The SureSwitch also has sealed contacts, which prevents insects and debris from shorting out the contacts.  This past year, White-Rodgers debuted the All-Spark, which doesn’t need electricity to be powered up and can be programmed right out of the box. The All-Spark works on all sorts of appliances, not just boilers and furnaces. Universal controls are generally safe to put in combustion units, even gas furnaces. New controls go through rigorous testing before they hit the market. The controls MUST stay within the OEM’s guidelines; otherwise, they won’t make it to the market. Sometimes, when boards need to be replaced, we also need to upgrade the igniter to match the voltage of the new board. The goal of universal controls is to save time and hassle for the technicians and the customers, which makes it easier to make sales. It’s also easier for the distributor to get fast and accurate solutions to the technicians, especially when OEM parts may not be immediately available due to supply chain issues and normal shipping expectations. Jim and Eric also discuss: All-Spark benefits and features Manufacturer-specific vs. general universal controls White-Rodgers nomenclature Controls instructions Distributors and sales reps Evolution of controls for direct-spark and hot-surface ignition Training techs to install controls on equipment   Learn more about White-Rodgers controls at https://climate.emerson.com/en-us/brands/white-rodgers. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/23/202229 minutes, 9 seconds
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Malco - New Tools and Education Focus with Rich Benninghoff - Short #138

In this short podcast from AHR 2022, Leilani Orr and Eric Kaiser talk with the president and CEO of Malco Tools, Rich Benninghoff. Rich discusses some of the exciting new tools that Malco is bringing to the market and some plans for the future, especially when it comes to education. Malco has developed the Eagle-Grip, which is a set of locking-handle pliers made in the USA with American steel. The tool is currently in a soft launch; it is currently receiving a lot of interest, so Malco has been building up inventory, forming partnerships across industries, and collecting market feedback. One of Malco’s most exciting products is the C-RHEX line of cleanable, reversible magnetic hex drivers. These hex drivers come in many sizes and are easy to clean; the cleanable and magnetic features are especially important, as the buildup of metal resin and clippings can decrease tool longevity and effectiveness without proper cleaning. Malco has also been focusing on trade schools and education through “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.” The initiative gives back to the community and provides career and education-enhancing opportunities to young people who are serious about the trade. Over the next decade, expect to see Malco continue investing in product innovation. Rich is excited to grow the brand and help the HVAC, automotive, and other industries along the way. Rich also covers: Malco’s history with sheet metal fabrication Relying on customers for feedback and ideas “Head of the Class” program Providing tools for shop classes in local school districts   Learn more about Malco Tools at https://www.malcoproducts.com/. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/22/202215 minutes, 39 seconds
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HFC Phasedown W/ Jason O and Nathan O LIVE from AHR

Jason Obrzut joins Nathan Orr with the HVAC School podcast live from AHR. In this episode, they discuss A2L refrigerants and upcoming regulations. They explain what a “flammable” refrigerant really is and why the industry may be making a bigger deal of the new regulations than is really necessary. Whenever regulations are passed, we need to understand that there is a notable transition period. This period will mostly be about training, and the only people who should be working on the new equipment should be the most experienced technicians. A2L refrigerants are mildly flammable, non-toxic refrigerants, including R-32. Flame propagation is possible but quite rare for A2L refrigerants under normal operating conditions. However, even A1 refrigerants can propagate flame under the right conditions (just not ones we’d normally see). Many countries all over the world have been using A2L refrigerants for much longer than we have, so we can make those refrigerants work safely. All trades will evolve, and we need to be prepared and trained to adapt to changes over time. When we learn all the new practices that come with these new regulations, we become better technicians. The only place where we can make a difference is in our work, so it pays to focus on learning new things instead of resisting change. Jason and Nathan also discuss: A2L vs. A1 vs. A2 vs. A3 refrigerants What does “flammable” really mean? Recordkeeping regulations for A2L refrigerants Getting over the fear of the unknown Why the HFC phasedown is NOT driven by refrigerant manufacturer profits   Learn more about ESCO’s HVAC Excellence conference HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.
2/20/202228 minutes, 16 seconds
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HVAC Training Past, Present & Future w/ David Holt

David Holt with NCI returns to the podcast to discuss the evolution of HVAC training; we cover the past, present, and the possible future of training in the industry. In the past, we had a lot of hands-on training, whether it was one-on-one or in a traditional classroom setting. These learning practices remain beneficial today, especially since many uninformed practices are still prevalent in the industry today (charging to beer-can cold, condemning TXVs without a second thought, etc.). However, the pandemic has forced us to consider online and remote training in the present. The content has also changed from the past; we are a lot more aware of combustion and airflow nowadays, which are very important topics for safety and efficiency. Those training topics allow us to understand what we’re doing when we take the “vital signs” of the equipment.  Being better versed in basic and advanced diagnostics will also give us a more holistic understanding of the HVAC equipment as a system, which can help us truly optimize the systems instead of changing parts and making band-aid fixes. Moving forward, we can expect HVAC training to use virtual reality to help bring traditional hands-on training to the online sphere. We can’t expect a perfect replacement, but we can expect improvements in technology to close the learning gaps that result from online training. David and Bryan also discuss: NCI training during the pandemic Components vs. systems ASHRAE Standard 221-2020 Older educational resources and standards Occupational safety Pricing Online classes, podcasts, and other modern training media   Learn more about the National Comfort Institute (NCI)’s training and sign up HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/17/202250 minutes
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Proper System Commissioning w/ Jim Bergmann from AHR Live

Jim Bergmann returns to the HVAC School podcast live from AHR 2022 to discuss a bit about proper system commissioning. He explains the commissioning mindset and some helpful procedures. Successful system commissioning starts with the mindset. A good commissioning organization broadens its vision; instead of focusing on the appliance, techs and installers focus on the system. Commissioning early on saves time later; you can focus on installs and maintenance instead of callbacks, and your organization can make more money as a result. When installing and testing new piping, make sure you insulate the tubing properly and keep the lines CLOSED OFF to the atmosphere. Measuring the line set is also critical for weighing the charge properly, as long lines have special considerations. When doing the decay test, use a quality vacuum rig and try to keep the micron gauge as far away from the pump as possible. Cleaning line sets also helps your vacuum results by getting rid of oil and moisture within the lines. Flowing nitrogen while brazing and sweeping with nitrogen are two other important installation/commissioning practices. They may seem idealistic, but it’s easy to adopt these practices widely and reduce problematic scale buildup. Methods for setting airflow have changed over time. Nowadays, the best practice is to take a volumetric flow measurement (such as with a TrueFlow grid). Jim and Bryan also discuss: Preventing callbacks and warranty returns Evacuation and dehydration Factory practices One-hose evacuation with large hoses Flushing the line sets with pigs Nitrogen flow regulators “Airflow before charging” and metering devices Special considerations for MicroChannel coils   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/16/202227 minutes, 13 seconds
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3D Load & Energy Calcs w/ Duct Design

Russ King joins us for a short podcast episode about using 3D load and energy calculations with duct design. Russ has developed the Kwik Model 3D software program with the help of his son, Connor. Kwik Model 3D uses a video game platform to build a house out of boxes instead of a sketch. The software has evolved and been integrated into EnergyGauge to do load and energy calculations based on a house’s geometry. Kwik Model makes it easy and fun to create that geometry profile for a home, which makes building design and load calculation attractive to technicians. Software like Kwik Model may especially become popular as Generation Z steps into the workforce; we can expect the learning curve to be quite shallow for the digital generation. The Manual J calculation uses the home’s characteristics in Kwik Model and does all of the mathematical calculations in EnergyGauge for an advanced load calculation. KwikModel then receives those calculations for each room. Then, you can draw the ductwork and use an auto-size function to get the proper duct size based on the calculations. Energy simulations use several load calculations with advanced data to figure out what the energy usage will look like in a home with a certain set of load conditions. Russ and Bryan also discuss: Modeling quickly with Field Draw How building materials impact load calculations and energy simulations Energy simulations vs. load calculations Upcoming events with Russ King Kwik Model’s tech support Using the Unity platform to develop software for many different industries   Learn more about the software and get your 30-day free trial at kwikmodel.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/15/202226 minutes, 59 seconds
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A History in HVAC Chemical Chemistry w/ John & Mike Pastorello

In this live podcast from AHR Expo 2022, John and Mike Pastorello of Refrigeration Technologies give us a history lesson in HVAC chemical chemistry. They also explain what it takes to make a truly beneficial product for the industry. From the beginning, Refrigeration Technologies has focused on solving problems instead of jumping on product trends. Before Big Blu was introduced, technicians had to rely on less-than-reliable electronic leak detectors and poor-quality soap bubbles. So, John Pastorello learned about the fundamentals of foaming and bubbles to create a leak reactant that works, even creating microbubbles for tiny leaks. Nylog has a similar origin story, and it has evolved to work for both mineral oil (red) and POE (blue) systems. As with Big Blu, John ran several tests to make sure the Nylog was compatible with HVAC equipment and did not cause contamination. The Viper Pan & Drain Treatment was developed to replace pan tabs, which failed to remove the dead biological material in drains. The spray coats the whole pan and dissolves sludge with enzymes. The Venom Packs are highly concentrated cleaners that arose from a move to consolidate the chemical line into something lighter, smaller, and faster. (Think about laundry detergent pods.) So, Venom Packs were inspired by laundry detergent and developed into a concentrated product line with recommended dilution ratios. Mike, John, Jessica, and Bryan also discuss: All the considerations that go into creating a leak reactant “Controversial” uses for Nylog Nylog white pipe dope for gas, water, air, and glycol Overcoming drain/pan odors Enzyme-based cleaning Safety considerations with HVAC chemicals Durability of Venom Pack packaging Family businesses Women in the business   Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies at refrigtech.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/13/202239 minutes, 41 seconds
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Upgrades and Proposals That Lead to Clarity & Profit w/ Michael Housh

Michael Housh returns to the podcast to discuss upgrades and proposals that are worth considering. These upgrades and proposals can actually benefit the customer AND lead to clarity and profit without turning you into a white-shirt tech. When assessing a system for replacement, it’s a good idea to look at the airflow side by measuring static pressure AND using a flow grid; these practices set you apart from others and supply you with good data about system sizing. Filtration is another area where you can consider upgrades and proposals; customers generally want to keep their air clean and may be happy to pay for better filtration, fresh air, and de/humidification.  Surge protection is a high-value upgrade that many customers may benefit from, especially if the electrical company allows overvoltage or the customer has a voltage-sensitive ECM or inverter system. Some upgrades are useful and can be offered automatically (the customer can decline it); depending on the climate, a humidifier or dehumidifier may fit into that category. Proposals are a chance to put all of the offers on the table and allow the customer to select and decline whatever they want. When we adopt this business method, we would be wise to remove our egos from the process. Some processes that add clarity to proposals include creating checklists and taking lots of pictures for the customer. You’ll also create trust between you and the customer when you establish that clarity. Michael and Bryan also discuss: HVAC industry game-changers Profit margins Free quoting Fresh air considerations Consistent overvoltage Metal oxide varistors (MOVs) and the ICM493 IAQ monitors Attic infiltration and can lights Proposal verbiage and templates Callbacks and consultations   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/10/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 41 seconds
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Free Tech Support w/ Clifton Beck

In this short podcast episode, Clifton Beck joins us to talk about Bluon’s free tech support and resources available to technicians and installers. Clifton has been very in touch with the HVAC technician community since he got his start in the trades, and he has taken that into tech support. He has noticed that the inefficiency in our industry tends to come from poorly learned practices, and working in tech support is a way for him to do his part to spread better practices while helping others. Lately, Bluon has become more of a tech support business. The new shift to focus on innovation has prompted Bluon to shift from making equipment more efficient to making technicians more efficient. The whole HVAC industry relies on that progression from developing on equipment to people. Tech support consists of answering calls but also creating training videos and creating layers of technician education and development. Manuals are just part of the picture; tech support helps with part identification AND the sequence of operations. Tech support reduces the amount of time it takes to learn about a part or locate components, which makes technicians more efficient and strengthens our industry. Overall, tech support calls are opportunities to train technicians to do better; they don’t just have to give away simple answers that don’t really help anyone. Clifton and Bryan also discuss: Bluon’s growth Trends in tech support calls Tech support and community involvement Feeling accomplished as a tech support representative   Learn more about Bluon’s free tech support on the Bluon app, or you can check out bluon.com.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/8/202224 minutes, 36 seconds
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Blower Doors Don't Need to Be So Confusing w/ Genry Garcia

Genry Garcia returns to the podcast to talk about blower doors and why ACH50 may needlessly complicate efforts to tighten a building envelope. A large element of indoor comfort comes down to controlling the load, especially the latent load. Even though we can control indoor humidity sources, we may also deal with infiltration, which contributes to a high latent load and decreases comfort. The blower door test comes in when we can no longer control the load and need to determine how much infiltration is happening. When using blower doors, we would typically use an ACH50 test, which takes the CFM50 (cubic feet per minute that the blower door moves to get the house up or down to 50 Pascals) and translates it to air changes per hour at 50 Pa. To do that, you would need to find the volume of the space, which adds hurdles that the HVAC technician needs to deal with. However, Genry prefers using the CFM50 and factoring in the square footage and LAIR (leakage area infiltration ratio) to determine how tight a house is; he doesn’t focus on the building’s volume. To decrease the leakage, it’s best to stay focused on the CFM50 the entire time; worrying about the ACH50 just adds an extra step that we don’t necessarily use. Genry and Bryan also discuss: Connecting design and execution Attic encapsulation How to use LAIR Ceiling height and stack effect Blower door testing for code compliance vs. comfort consultation/diagnostics Common duct problems in new constructions Balancing supply ducts Automation of communicating controls IAQ products and dehumidification   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/3/202244 minutes, 25 seconds
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Introduction to Psychrometrics w/ Eugene Silberstein

Eugene Silberstein, a co-author of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology (RACT manual), joins the podcast to give us an introduction to psychrometrics. Psychrometrics focuses on the properties of air and its contents, especially as they relate to human comfort. To understand psychrometrics, we need to be able to quantify air: its weight, humidity, pressure, etc. We can do a better job as technicians if we figure out the air’s content and see how it relates to the CFM and overall unit performance. That way, we can have a more holistic view of HVAC performance instead of just focusing on adding or recovering refrigerant to improve performance. The psychrometrics chart helps us understand the conditions of the air based on quantities like water vapor, dew point, and more. The chart may intimidate techs, but it contains a wealth of information that can help technicians understand the air and the customer’s comfort better. Basic psychrometrics can also help us grasp why furnaces don’t actually dry out air; they pull the moisture out of the air and pull it back in, so the absolute humidity stays close to the same. However, we commonly add humidifiers because the relative humidity drops with the temperature rise. Eugene and Bryan also discuss: How air filters and blower motors interact with the air Things that affect the weight of air per cubic foot Humidifying air and its effect on the density of air High-pressure air moving to an area of lower pressure How latent heat works Pressure and the atmosphere Absolute vs. relative humidity   Learn about ESCO’s e-learning network at hvacr.elearn.network/ and Psychrometrics Without Tears HERE. ESCO also holds the HVAC Excellence Conference; learn more about that HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
2/1/202246 minutes, 51 seconds
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Prepare For Refrigerant Changes w/ Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall, Chemours’s North American marketing manager for thermal and specialized solutions, joins the podcast to discuss refrigerant changes that are coming and how we can prepare for those. Brandon started in the industry by going to a technical school when he was 14 and has been hard at work ever since, studying light commercial design and going to college in between. Local and global regulations have changed a lot over the years and continue to change as we continue maximizing our equipment’s efficiency. California will soon start switching to low-GWP refrigerant on new equipment in 2025; even R-410A can’t be used in new equipment. We will begin seeing the rise of A2L refrigerants and moving away from the A1 refrigerants that are more detrimental to the environment; we’ll have to focus on safety as we begin working with more flammable refrigerants. As new refrigerants get off the ground, we can expect increased communication between manufacturers and dealers to prepare for the sale of equipment built for the new refrigerants. Although we can’t confirm anything, Brandon has speculated that the EPA will soon follow in California’s regulatory footsteps when it comes to new equipment and R-410A.  It’s a good idea to stay educated, subscribe to A2L newsletters, and follow HVAC trends in Europe to predict what might come next in North America.  Brandon and Bryan also discuss: Educational resources about refrigerants What “mildly flammable” actually means European HVAC equipment Chemours at the AHR Expo   Learn more about Chemours A2L training at opteon.com or Opteon’s YouTube channel. Check out what Chemours has in store at the AHR Expo at https://www.opteon.com/en/ahrexpo.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
1/27/202224 minutes, 18 seconds
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The History and Future of Refrigerants w/ Chuck Allgood

Chuck Allgood with Chemours joins the podcast to cover the history of refrigerants and discuss what the future might hold. In the late 1800s, before Freon, the only refrigerants that were used were industrial chemicals like ammonia, CO2, and sulfur dioxide. DuPont stepped in to provide a better refrigerant for industrial refrigeration (which then spurred the rise of domestic refrigeration), so they created a non-toxic, non-flammable chemical called Freon-12 (CFC R-12) in 1928. However, in the 1970s-1980s, it was discovered that R-12 and other CFCs depleted the ozone layer due to the chlorine content. R-12 production was banned in the 1990s per the Montreal Protocol. HCFCs like R-22 also have chlorine but in smaller concentrations; those phaseouts have been much more recent. Following news of the HCFC phaseout, HFCs and refrigerant blends became more popular because their ozone depletion potentials were 0. Although HFCs don’t deplete the ozone layer, some of them have high global warming potential (GWP). Regulations stemming from the Kigali Amendment, such as the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, have been introduced to phase down the production of HFCs to slow global warming due to refrigerants. HFOs have recently been developed to replace HFCs; these have olefins, which are double-carbon bonds with short atmospheric lifespans. So, they don’t contribute to global warming as significantly as HFCs and have GWPs of less than 1. Chuck and Bryan also discuss: What Willis Carrier really invented Chlorine and ozone depletion Development of refrigerant blends Freon vs. Opteon branding Refrigerants and the greenhouse effect Oil lubricants Best practices for mildly flammable refrigerants Timeline of Opteon line refrigerant releases   Learn more about Chemours A2L training at opteon.com or Opteon’s YouTube channel. Check out what Chemours has in store at the AHR Expo at https://www.opteon.com/en/ahrexpo.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
1/25/202244 minutes, 48 seconds
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Overcoming Conflict at Work w/ Andy Holt

Andy Holt joins the podcast to discuss the ever-relevant topic of overcoming conflict at work. Some people end up in conflicts often, so Andy recommends paying attention to how others react to the conflict you have perceived; if you are much more stressed than everyone else, then you need to look internally, not externally. The first step to overcoming conflict is to slow down and think about your reactions to perceived conflicts. Partaking in bickering and gossip with coworkers creates a negative environment for the entire team; the best way to avoid or resolve conflicts is to handle them directly and sincerely ask the other party to start over. Overall, it’s best to take the high road and take initiative to make things right. When dealing with conflict with bosses, it’s best to separate emotion from the facts and keep discussions simply factual. It’s good to be open, honest, and understand that you can’t control your boss’s response. As a boss dealing with employee conflict, it’s a good idea to avoid firing on the spot and give employees a chance to think about the conflict at hand, such as by giving them a paid “cool-off period.” Customer conflicts may arise from pricing issues. The technician can ease tensions by quoting jobs up front and bundling services to show the customer where the value is. To resolve conflicts with customers, the best thing to do is be attentive to their concerns. Andy and Bryan also discuss: “Designing” a reaction Dealing with big egos Letting people go Working towards agreements vs. forcing bargains Dealing with hot tempers Taking ownership of comfort problems MeasureQuick and fact-based conversations   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
1/20/202238 minutes, 19 seconds
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Commercial HVAC Estimating

Matthew and Nick Wavra join the podcast to discuss everything that goes into job estimation in commercial HVAC. Nick has a lot of fieldwork and project management experience, and Matthew has marketing, software, and sales experience, which helps bring in and retain clients. Commercial estimation begins when a mechanical contractor asks for a bid on a job. The estimators go through the spec books, bidding documents, and any addendums to come up with takeoffs and a price. The estimator seeks approval from manufacturers to build the materials, and they use software to come up with an estimate. The pricing updates weekly to stay current and accurate in an economy that’s currently facing inflation. Estimators develop takeoffs for materials and labor; each material has some sort of labor attached to it, though the labor estimates may need to be adjusted as conditions change.  Commercial contractors may make mistakes when they miss equipment or elevation considerations (when estimating labor). On-screen takeoff options significantly reduce the risk of creating mistakes, so it may be unwise for contractors to do takeoffs by hand instead of using software to help. Matthew, Nick, and Bryan also discuss: Sheet metal price increases Software vs. man-made takeoffs DX piping vs. chilled water boilers Estimation in HVAC vs. refrigeration CRM (customer relationship management) Developing a commercial HVAC estimation training course Finding a niche in the HVAC estimation business Look for Nick and Matthew at the AHR Expo 2022 in Las Vegas! They will be at booth N9142 in North Hall.   Learn more about Matthew and Nick’s business by visiting hvacestimation.com/ or by calling Nick directly at (238)-900-6330.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/30/202127 minutes, 17 seconds
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Furnace Sequence of Operation - Short 137

In this short podcast episode, Bryan goes over the basic gas furnace sequence of operations. There are a few variations, but the sequence of operations tends to stay consistent across most furnace types. First, a W call from the thermostat calls for heat. The circuit board will then assess the safeties to see if it can bring on the heat without causing flame rollout or other dangerous conditions. If the safety switches are all closed, then the furnace can bring on the heat. However, in some cases, the induced draft motor may come on first in some 80% furnaces. There needs to be a small negative pressure in the induced draft motor housing. To confirm that we have that pressure, a pressure switch will close under the right conditions. Then, ignition begins. In most cases, we use intermittent-spark ignition (ISI) or hot-surface ignition (HSI). It takes some time for these methods to light the pilot, which then lights the main burner. After that, the gas valve opens to fuel the burner. On an ISI system, that’s about it until the blower comes on. However, once the main burner opens on an HSI system, a flame sensing rod can verify if you have a flame on that burner. There is a blower delay that prevents the blower from coming on and blowing a bunch of air that hasn’t yet been heated. After that, the blower delay ends, and the blower comes on. Then, the furnace shuts off when the W call ends. Then the blower continues running for a little bit before turning off.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/28/20217 minutes, 1 second
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Starting an Internal Training Program w/ Trevor

Trevor Matthews, the founder of Refrigeration Mentor, returns to the podcast to talk about starting up an internal training program for an HVAC/R company. In some cases, the best lead technicians don’t want to be head trainers if the responsibility is forced upon them. However, when there is a solid training plan in place, those senior technicians might actually find the task enjoyable. The first step to starting a training program is to ask the apprentices and technicians where their skills are at and how they want to develop their skills. That way, you can map out a program that works for the technician and figure out how to make time for thorough training.  When you grow people within your company, you’ll likely see more success than when you outsource training. It takes longer to develop the relevant skills in outsourced people; so, when you develop a solid internal training program, you can sustain it with the people who pioneered it.  We also need to focus on evaluation in training. When we assess our techs’ skills, we add accountability to our training programs. However, it takes time for techs to grow from a training program, and we need to make sure we’re rewarding progress. Training also works best as a team approach. When we look at the techs’ strengths, we can diversify the training program and make sure that several skill bases are covered. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Common excuses to avoid training Motivated trainers and technicians Labor shortage and skills gap Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning preferences Prevention-based training Managerial involvement in training   Learn more about Refrigeration Mentor at https://refrigerationmentor.com/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/23/202135 minutes, 26 seconds
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Flame "sensing" - Short 136

In this short podcast, Bryan explains the basics of flame sensing, also known as flame rectification. Flame sensing/rectification is a form of proving flame. When you can’t prove flame, your furnace might be dumping unspent gas into the heat exchanger, which can cause an explosion. Flame sensing rods are common in hot-surface (HSI) and intermittent-spark (ISI) ignition. These rods stick out into the flame and connect to the furnace board. The flame creates a path between the rod and ground, which allows a very small current to flow to the board. Without a flame, there is voltage but no path, so the board can’t sense a current and will shut the gas valve off to try again.  Sensing rods can fail when they short out due to a cracked insulator, are physically broken, aren’t placed in the flame, or get covered in silica or carbon. If the furnace or burner assembly isn’t properly grounded, then the flame sensor also won’t work. Flame sensing rods are often confused with thermopiles or thermocouples; the latter devices generate voltage and have a coating that can rub off with improper cleaning. Flame sensing rods don’t have either of these features, so you can clean these by any means necessary (without breaking them or creating grooves or pits). To test a flame sensing rod, begin by making sure the furnace is properly grounded. Then, make sure the rod is in the right spot and that the burner assembly is in good order. Get a microamp meter (with a resolution that reads tenths of microamps). Then, connect your leads in series with the flame rod.    If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/21/202111 minutes, 55 seconds
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Grow a Business Through Customer Experience - Throwback Bonus

This podcast episode is a throwback to one of Bryan’s first small business podcasts. In this old episode, Australian electrician and businessman Joshua Nicholls explains how he built a business by focusing on customer experience and branding. Bryan grew Kalos similarly, so they talk about the journey of going from “man-in-a-van” businesses to larger businesses with several employees.   Joshua wanted to bring old-school manners and integrity to the business world, and that’s how he branded his business. The focus on customer service over marketing earned the customers’ respect, and customers were happy to remain loyal to the business and recommend it to friends. The repeat business and referrals allow you to maintain a client base AND grow it without spending too much money on advertising.   Eventually, the business grew big enough to require Joshua to change some of his internal processes. He needed to understand when to bring external help into the business, whether those helpers were financial advisors or mentors.   Joshua reached a point where he got bored with his business, so he went to a conference in New Zealand and decided to start franchising the business. The business worked without him, and he decided to give a chance for young entrepreneurs to share in his business’s success and spread his business all over the country.   Joshua and Bryan also discuss: Joshua’s origin story Authenticity in business What to do after the growth boom Profitability vs. work-life balance Turning customers into raving fans Scheduling appointments in a service business Knowing your numbers in business finance The “One Van, One Child” initiative   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.   Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/16/202135 minutes, 56 seconds
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Refrigeration Defrost Termination & Fail Safe - Short 135

In this short podcast episode, Bryan covers the differences between defrost termination and failsafe. He also covers the basics of defrost in refrigeration applications.   In medium-temp applications (also called coolers), the box stays above freezing temperatures, but the coil may drop below freezing. When the air is above freezing, we can use off-cycle defrost. The coil defrosts when the system naturally cycles off. We may also use timed defrost, which pumps down or cycles the compressor off at set times to force a defrost cycle.   In low-temperature applications, the box will typically be below freezing. We may use electric heat to melt ice off the evaporator coil, and the fan stays off; this method is usually accompanied by a pump-down to remove refrigerant from the coil. We may also use hot gas defrost, which pumps discharge gas through the coil to melt the ice off it. (Kool gas may use a warm fluid instead of hot gas.)   We want to stop the defrost as soon as the coil is ice-free; we don’t want to keep adding heat when we don’t need to melt anything. A defrost thermostat detects when the coil is free of ice and terminates the defrost when the temperature reaches around 55 degrees Fahrenheit; this is called defrost termination. We rely on a failsafe to terminate the defrost in case the defrost termination fails; the failsafe is the maximum amount of time a system is allowed to remain in defrost.   Demand defrost uses time and temperature to tell the controls when to put the system into defrost; this method uses trend analysis and sensors to force the system into defrost at set times and intervals.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.   Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/14/20219 minutes, 46 seconds
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Intro to Project Management - Throwback Bonus

This podcast episode is a throwback to one of Bryan’s first podcasts about small businesses. Cesar Abeid, former VP of construction camera company Remontech, joined this podcast to discuss the basics of project management and a book that can help you step into that side of the business. Project management is a framework or set of tools to turn an idea into reality. Projects have a beginning and end to create something new, and project management is how we get from the beginning to the end while factoring in schedules and a budget. In essence, project management is a system. Effective project management requires a business to create processes and procedures for its services. For example, Remontech needs to plan the actual camera installation, but the company also has a bunch of internal processes to set up servers for recording. The key to project management is to remember what must be done and assign tasks to people as needed. One of the issues Cesar saw with project management books was the dryness and corporate nature of their language. As a project manager, Cesar used stories from his life to make his book more relatable and accessible to small business owners. Cesar and Bryan also discuss: Contractor-client communication External vs. internal processes Cesar’s book: Project Management for You Cesar’s preferred leisure activities Wasting time or learning?   Purchase Cesar’s book or learn more at https://pmforthemasses.com/product/project-management-for-you-bundle-1/.  If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/9/202130 minutes, 45 seconds
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Dealing with Imposter Syndrome - Short 134

Bryan discusses impostor syndrome, what it is, and how it may actually be useful for us. When we feel that we’re frauds and that others wouldn’t like to be led by us if they knew how much we don’t know, we’re experiencing impostor syndrome. Contrary to what others might believe, impostor syndrome isn’t all that bad and may even be necessary for a healthy self-image. On the other side, we have the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is when people are confident in the things they have very little actual knowledge of. They think they’re experts and close themselves off to other sources of knowledge. On the other side of the Dunning-Kruger effect spectrum, true experts are acutely aware of what they still don’t know. We would be wise to know what the edges of our knowledge are and give others a chance to share their expertise when we reach those limits. When people learn more about a subject, they become much more aware of what they don’t know. Wisdom comes from knowing what you don’t know. However, if you feel that feeling of inferiority, you can still share the knowledge you have while seeking feedback and deferring to others who know more than you. (That’s especially true of Bryan, who has a summary knowledge of industrial refrigeration and defers to others who know more about it.) In the end, we’re seeking authenticity and self-awareness. Rather than avoiding impostor syndrome, we can embrace it and understand how it can lead to self-awareness, wisdom, and especially self-improvement. “Fake it till you make it” can only help you up to a certain point.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/7/202110 minutes, 45 seconds
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Transforming Grocery and Cold Storage with Data

Amrit Robbins of Axiom comes on the podcast to discuss how we can use data science to transform grocery and cold storage. Axiom Cloud uses cloud analytics and AI to map data and analyze trends on refrigeration racks. It can be particularly useful to keep track of readings all the time because it’s impractical to rely on a human to take and record readings 24/7. Grocery stores are unique because they have so much product at stake and are relatively inflexible in their usage of energy. If something goes wrong on a rack, thousands of dollars worth of products may be lost.  If we could collect and review data at our fingertips, we could spot potential problems before the store loses money. These systems may also have alarms for case temperature problems, floodback conditions, and even some less immediate issues, such as a lack of floating suction. Axiom Cloud also monitors when systems go into defrost, so you can assess the cycles of case groups and figure out if they correspond to any issues.  When you have data collection, you’re not relying on a “virtual technician” to automate HVAC work. Instead, data science can empower HVAC technicians and help them do their jobs more efficiently so that they can respond to issues before they become emergencies and serve customers better. After all, computer-based systems can’t repair or clean units! Amrit and Bryan also discuss: Generating value on behalf of the customer Compressor failures Technician labor shortage Creating sustainable working hours Developing more flexible energy usage Monitoring temperature rise across cases Thermal banking Preparing for data analytics to come to the industry   Learn more at axiomcloud.ai. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
12/2/202143 minutes, 18 seconds
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Superheat Talk - Short 133

In this short podcast, Bryan goes over the basics of superheat and explains why it matters to us. Superheat is the temperature increase above a substance’s saturation temperature or boiling point. When a substance is superheated, that means it is 100% vapor; there is no liquid at all. We can look at our superheat to determine how much refrigerant is feeding our evaporator coil. A lower superheat indicates that our evaporator is more full of refrigerant than a high superheat, meaning that the refrigerant is feeding the evaporator coil well. Generally, a lower superheat value will be more efficient, but if the superheat gets too low, we can get liquid in the suction line and compressor. An evaporator can maintain roughly the same temperature throughout the bulk of the coil because the temperature stays the same during a phase change. As the refrigerant boils off from its liquid state, it remains at the boiling point. You generally want to see no less than 6 degrees of superheat, especially at the compressor. Zero superheat indicates that you have some liquid refrigerant (or that the system is off). Superheat can get tricky when we use refrigerant blends with glide. The different refrigerants in a blend have different boiling points, so the evaporator temperature can drift up. When determining the superheat of blends, we use the dew point to calculate the superheat (and bubble point for subcooling). We get superheat in the evaporator (suction line at the evaporator outlet) and the compressor (suction line at the compressor inlet). The latter will be higher because some sensible heat will be absorbed in the suction line.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
11/23/202114 minutes, 37 seconds
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Liquid Quality vs. Subcooling

In this podcast episode, Bryan and Eric Mele talk about sight glasses, the significance of subcooling in refrigeration, and liquid quality. While we measure subcooling quite often in HVAC work, we rely on sight glasses and liquid line receivers far more often in refrigeration. You need a sight glass to determine the liquid quality in a refrigeration system. Subcooling is one way to assure liquid quality without a sight glass or a receiver.  Subcooling refers to the temperature drop below liquid saturation. Head pressure can dictate subcooling, and several other factors can dictate the condensing temperature, including stacking. We use sight glasses because a clear sight glass can tell us that we have a full column of liquid (therefore subcooling) without hooking up gauges.  In HVAC, we care about having a certain level of subcooling because we want to make sure the refrigerant is fully liquid when it reaches the metering device; no bubbles should be present by the time it reaches the metering device. Like the suction line, the liquid line is a place where heat can be absorbed into the refrigerant. So, some manufacturers recommend insulating the liquid line to prevent heat from transferring to the refrigerant in the liquid line. Unit orientation also affects subcooling. For example, you can shorten the liquid line sizing if your liquid line goes downhill to the air handler. Conversely, longer lines and uphill liquid lines require special considerations when it comes to subcooling. Eric and Bryan also discuss: Liquid line receiver fill standards Subcooling and efficiency Sight glass placement Stacking liquid in the condenser Pump down strategies Mechanical subcooling Flash gas “Free” subcooling Ambient temperatures   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
11/18/202130 minutes, 10 seconds
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Aluminum Repair Tips - Short 132

In this short podcast, Bryan explains the basics of repairing aluminum, such as on coils or tubing. Repairing aluminum can save lots of time on mission-critical calls and can help stop refrigerant leaks that lead to ozone layer depletion or global warming. Soldering makes almost all of the aluminum repair work we will do. (Brazing is possible, as aluminum has a melting point of 1200 degrees, but that’s still a bit too close to the brazing threshold.)  When working with aluminum, we need to recognize that it melts at a lower temperature than brass, steel, and copper, and it doesn’t change color. Aluminum is also thinner and almost fades away under excess heat. First, you’ll want to figure out how to get the base temperature to the right temperature, usually with a flux. (Some fluxes require cleaning, some don’t; either way, we recommend cleaning.) The powder flux should go clear, and then you’ll be ready to apply the rod. In many cases, indirect heating can be difficult if not impossible. After you choose your alloy, you need to choose your torch. We recommend using a swirl-tip air-acetylene torch. (It’s good to use a 3 tip for microchannel.) When working with an air-acetylene torch, you will run lower temperatures than oxyacetylene torches, but you will experience more convective heat. (Heat control is the key!) When doing a repair, you want products that will make a solid bond to the outside of the joint. Make sure your products are for repairs, not for joining aluminum tubing. If you do aluminum repairs on an evaporator or condenser coil, cut the fins out of the way. Make sure your work area is exposed and clean.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
11/16/202112 minutes, 59 seconds
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Specifically About Heat - Short 131

In this short podcast, Bryan goes over energy transfer and heat, specifically specific heat. BTUs per ton is a common measurement; a BTU (British thermal unit) is the amount of heat it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. 12,000 BTUs per hour is equal to one ton in heating or cooling technology. It takes one “ton” of heat to melt a ton of ice, but we kept the measurement and terminology as we moved away from using ice in industrial refrigeration. When it comes to specific heat, we have to remember that one BTU has a different heating or cooling impact on different substances. Most fluids have a specific heat lower than water, meaning that one BTU of heat will result in more heat transfer in that substance than water. Air is one such fluid that has a lower specific heat than water (0.24 vs. 1); it’s easier to heat air than water. However, the specific heat of vapors can change with temperature and pressure. When we change a refrigerant from a liquid to a vapor in the evaporator coil, it will reach saturation before boiling. As the refrigerant boils, the temperature will stay the same because the absorbed heat will all contribute to the phase change as latent heat. Even though most refrigerants have low specific heat, direct expansion systems can still move a lot of heat because it takes a lot of latent heat to complete a phase change. In other systems that don’t use direct expansion (using glycol or water instead), specific heat is more integral to the effectiveness of heat transfer because latent heat isn’t a factor in heat capacity.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
11/9/202112 minutes, 20 seconds
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Pressure Measurement Pro Tips w/ Steve Rogers

In this podcast, Steve Rogers from The Energy Conservatory explains some pro tips for pressure measurement. There are three common types of pressure measurements: absolute, gauge, and differential. Absolute pressure is the pressure in a particular space in reference to a complete vacuum. (All absolute measurements use the zero point as a reference.) Gauge pressure uses atmospheric pressure as a reference point (which varies with altitude and location). Differential pressure relies on two connections (one of them is a reference point to the other). The Energy Conservatory recently designed a manometer (DG-8) that differs from the standard manometers. The purpose of that manometer is to make pressure measurements in a more cost-effective way. Most manometers have similar sensors (diaphragms move with pressure, and the measurement read is the resulting difference in resistance). However, the DG-8’s methodology can help it yield much more accurate measurements.  When dealing with small pressure measurements (like Pascals), the DG-8 is one of the most accurate manometers you will find on the market. When you look at room pressure, keep in mind that pressurizing one room will depressurize another. Temperature differences also impact the pressure, and the HVAC unit can cause differences in pressure to arise as a result of temperature differences. When you run the kitchen or bathroom exhaust and expel a lot of air in your home, you can also bring the home under negative pressure; that can even cause your water heater to backdraft. Steve and Bryan also discuss: Blower door manometers vs. DG-8 manometers Pascal scale Room pressures and air paths Infiltration and its effect on load calculations Dominant duct leakage Combustion appliance zone (CAZ) testing Mechanical ventilation and pressure Orphaned water heaters DG-8 and the TrueFlow grid   Learn more about the DG-8 HERE. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
11/4/202135 minutes, 59 seconds
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Copeland Reciprocating CS Compressors w/ Trevor

Trevor Matthews from Refrigeration Mentor comes on the podcast to talk about Copeland reciprocating CS compressors. He and Bryan cover Bulletin AE4-1433 (found HERE) as they look at the operating envelopes for the CS compressor. The CS compressors are hermetic reciprocating compressors that can work with some of the newer refrigerants. You will likely see these compressors in applications with smaller tonnages. You’ll usually want to charge these compressors with liquid refrigerant. If you have more than 6 pounds of charge in the system, using an accumulator is recommended. Under those charge conditions, the system also needs a check valve between the receiver and the condenser. Suction line pressure drop is one of the most important things to pay attention to in the system. Make sure the suction line is of an appropriate size, that filter-driers don’t have restrictions, and that accumulators aren’t clogged. Overall, many manufacturers recommend removing the duction driers to keep the pressure drop minimal. The recommended runtime for these compressors is also very short, only 5 minutes. CS compressors should cycle no more than 12 times per hour, and the off-time between cycles should be a minimum of 10 seconds. Before returning or replacing a compressor, make sure you check all of the electrical components, including the capacitor. If the compressor hums but has power, you could simply have a capacitor or potential relay issue. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Return gas temperatures Discharge line temperature Compressor superheat and flooded conditions with refrigerant blends Crankcase heaters Pump-down recommendations to stop short cycling Initial charge vs. recharge Metering devices Line sizing Electrical shorts Sticking relays Single-phase vs. three-phase power Megohm testing Purging with and flowing nitrogen Burnout cleanup procedures Locking/tagging out equipment Hard start kits, potential relays, and start capacitors   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/28/202156 minutes, 51 seconds
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Adiabatic Cooling - Short 130

In this short podcast episode, Bryan explains the science behind adiabatic cooling. Adiabatic cooling occurs in specific HVAC/R applications and in our environment as air temperatures and pressures change. When we think of cooling, we refer to the loss of heat; we are either referring to the change in the total BTU content of the air mass or the temperature change. Adiabatic cooling takes sensible heat and transforms it into latent heat. The most simple forms of adiabatic cooling can be seen in cooling towers and swamp coolers. In evaporative or swamp coolers, you have a pad saturated with water, and air moves over it. When air moves over the media, some of the energy helps evaporate the moisture on the pads, so the air loses sensible heat and becomes cooler. The thermal enthalpy (total heat content) stays the same, but some of the sensible heat has transferred to latent heat. Air that goes through a swamp cooler goes in with higher temperature and lower humidity, and it leaves with a lower temperature and higher humidity. The BTU content stays the same; the energy merely transforms. As a result, we usually only use swamp coolers in arid environments where higher humidity is desirable. You also can’t compare these to compression-refrigeration systems because compression refrigeration aims to change the BTU content and is NOT adiabatic. When we run air over an evaporator coil, some of the water vapor in the air condenses to liquid water in the drain pan. Some of the energy in the refrigerant changes the state of the water vapor to liquid water instead of changing the temperature. You’ll see a lower delta T when your return relative humidity (RH) is higher.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/26/202111 minutes, 31 seconds
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Fighting Boredom at Work - Short 129

In this short podcast episode, Bryan shares his top tips for fighting boredom at work. You can use these tips to help you get out of a rut if you don’t feel productive or get bored easily. The first tip for fighting boredom is to see the art or creativity in your work. Even in the HVAC industry, there are plenty of opportunities for artisan skills and craftsmanship. When you see your work as an art that you need to refine, it’s easier to get engaged in your work and feel proud of it. That's especially true of tasks like duct strapping and brazing. Another way to stop from getting bored is to do more things that challenge you. Being constantly challenged and being out of your comfort zone keeps you interested and can even spark a new passion. Pursuing mastery allows you to focus on one particular skill or subject to become an expert. When you master a skill, you also become a marketable job candidate and can carve out a niche within your organization. Mastery is about going deep rather than wide, and more people will feel enriched by working towards mastery than others. If you’re a social person, finding a community can keep you from getting bored. When you have a community, you will be around people who have the same interests and experience the same challenges as you. So, you won’t get bored from feeling alone. Mentorship is another way to rekindle your passion. When you choose to invest in and guide less experienced people in the trade, you can feel a renewed sense of purpose in your work. And if you’re REALLY bored, you can change everything up entirely and try something new.   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/19/202114 minutes, 4 seconds
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Review Of Vacuum For Service Revisted

In this podcast episode, Bryan goes through the addendum to the book Review of Vacuum for Service Engineers. He and Jim Bergmann had the honor of revising the latest edition in 2020. You can get the latest edition of Review of Vacuum for Service Engineers from TruTech Tools HERE. Pulling a Schrader core before evacuation makes a big difference in the speed of the evacuation. You can use a core remover tool to pull the cores when the system is NOT pressurized. There are three common types of ports to access the system: the Schrader core, high-flow core (CoreMax), and the multi-position service valve. You can mid-seat the multi-position service valve for high flow, but you need to remove or depress cores on the other two port types. (You must use a special CoreMax CRT to remove high-flow cores.) Three factors limit the speed of evacuation: the conductance speed of the pump, of the connecting hoses, and of the system. The hoses and manifold can severely impact evacuation. TXV and piston metering devices have short orifices and have very little impact on the evacuation time; on TXVs and EXVs, the valve should be fully open. When pulling a vacuum, make sure the vacuum pump works properly and has clean oil. Once you know that the pump is working, only pull on a tight system (no leaks) and make sure the seals are in good shape. Bryan also discusses: Micron gauge and hose placement Core depressors and CRTs Refrigerant holding charge When core restrictions are helpful Single-hose vs. two-hose evacuation speed Moisture removal One-hose evacuation of a split air conditioner Decay testing Hard shut-off valves How to solve micron gauge issues Nitrogen sweeps for wet systems   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/14/202125 minutes, 10 seconds
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Electric Heat - Short 128

In today’s short podcast, Bryan discusses electric heat, how we use it in our work, and what it does. Also called heat strips or heat elements, electric heat is a supplemental heat source that we usually see on heat pumps. We generally see them in fan coils within a cartridge or a kit at the top of an air handler. However, not all systems have backup heat. We want to avoid running electric heat as much as possible because it is inefficient. There is almost nothing we can do to make heat strips more efficient; they will usually yield around 3.41 BTUs per watt.  We usually only run heat elements when a heating system can’t keep up with the heat loss. However, the electric heat often runs more often than it should, which can cause inefficient conditions. You can avoid inefficient conditions by programming the thermostat properly. If you reduce the voltage on the heat strips, the less heat they will produce. Current ratings also differ between 208v or 240v applications. When you have more voltage, you’ll have more current as well.  In some municipalities, you may have to use a thermostat that keeps heat strips OFF unless the temperature is below a certain value, often 40 degrees. Your electric heat should also be the last resort for a system. Heat strips also help with heating when a heat pump is in defrost. The defrost board backfeeds the electric heat. These heat strips are also often designed with an interlock that forces the blower on whenever the electric heat is on (but not the other way around). Bryan also discusses: Kilowatts and electrical ratings Wiring and relays Wire sizing Furnace-to-heat-pump conversions Possible hazards   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE.Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/12/202112 minutes, 56 seconds
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Introducing Refrigeration Mentor w/ Trevor

Trevor Matthews comes on the podcast to discuss his newest project, Refrigeration Mentor. Refrigeration Mentor uses Trevor’s experience as a trainer and field technician to guide others in their careers. Trevor’s goal is to help commercial refrigeration technicians grow and become more confident in their skills. He wants them to become the best technician they can be, and he believes that mentorship is one of the things that make our industry great. Mentorship can help people advance their careers, sharpen their skills, and ease their anxiety about work. When we share knowledge, we bring value to the technicians. That value extends to the customer when technicians are more confident in their work and do better jobs. A good mentor has a commitment to doing quality work within the trade but will make their mentees feel comfortable to admit what they don’t know. Mentors can also help their mentees develop a solid work-life balance that helps mentees be present to their jobs and their families. The mentor’s job is to help their mentees reach their goals, whether that’s learning a new skill, entering a leadership role, or even starting a business. Trevor also wants to help business owners or managers strengthen their teams. He believes that a dynamic culture and a strong emphasis on training will help a business (and the industry as a whole) grow. His mentorship approach comes from strengthening technicians, businesses, and the industry from the heart. Trevor and Bryan also discuss: Holistic training Hesitancy to admit what we don’t know Passionate teachers Mental health Starting and managing a business from the inside Investing in training and mentorship   Check out Trevor’s website at https://refrigerationmentor.com/. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/sympos
10/7/202124 minutes, 38 seconds
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Effective IAQ Measurement & Control w/ Haven

In this podcast, Ben from HAVEN IAQ, Kaleb, and Bryan discuss how to control indoor air quality and take effective, meaningful, accurate measurements. HAVEN is a platform that offers hardware and software delivered to a homeowner through an HVAC professional. HAVEN’s goal is to give its customers a healthier, more comfortable home using IAQ solutions. The hardware (controls, etc.) works with the HAVEN software to give customers and contractors data about IAQ and the performance of the HVAC equipment. Right now, you may install up to two HAVEN controllers and one monitor per zone to help control equipment and monitor the air content. Air sampling occurs every hour, whether the HVAC system is running or not. Customers can learn to control their ventilation habits to address acute events (e.g., a spike in humidity from cooking), which only result in short-term IAQ problems. However, contractors can use the air sampling data to develop solutions for chronic events (e.g., constant high humidity). Solutions, even simple filtration ones, are best left to the contractors to figure out. The integration of most IAQ products requires some degree of design and planning. HAVEN products do NOT provide plug-and-play solutions. While “demand” solutions can introduce outdoor air to prevent a viral problem, you could introduce a moisture problem without proper planning. Ben, Kaleb, and Bryan also discuss: HAVEN central air controller Building relationships with customers Software integrations with other platforms Filtration caveats HAVEN Pro Portal and Personal Use Program Ease of connecting HAVEN controllers to equipment “Demand” ventilation, dehumidification, etc. Importance of airflow Making IAQ product sales and educating homeowners IAQ placebos In-duct monitoring Introducing HAVEN products to your market   Please visit pro.haveniaq.com to access HAVEN’s Pro Portal. If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
10/5/202148 minutes, 15 seconds
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College vs. Skilled Trades w/ Ryan Gorman

Ryan Gorman comes on the podcast to discuss the differences between a college education and early career opportunities in the skilled trades. Many parents feel pressured to send their children to college and encourage them to get a four-year degree. Despite what society may lead us to believe, there is no shame in thinking that college may not be suitable for you or your child; the skilled trades have many opportunities for people to learn throughout their lives and make a good living. In many cases, parents may see college as a ticket to the starting line. Unfortunately, college tuition has skyrocketed over the years, and a good ROI is not guaranteed. Instead, a career in the skilled trades can allow a person to develop hard skills and land a well-paying job at a young age. As the skills gap widens, young people who learn skills make themselves attractive to employers and increase their earning potential. Children and teenagers who want to become engineers may actually prefer a trades career where they get to work with their hands. The path to the trades is less expensive than getting a four-year degree and may prove more fulfilling in the long run. Internships, small businesses, and trades careers are viable paths for young people; we don’t present these possibilities at a young age, but they are worth considering for people who may not benefit from college. Ryan and Bryan also discuss: The arbitrary structure of college programs Parents wanting better for their children Overvaluing the 4-year degree Networking The skills gap Craftsperson vs. technician Feeling "stuck" Attending college at an older age Lifelong learning Universal skills vs. specialization Suggested resources for people who feel "stuck"   If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE. Check out our handy calculators HERE. Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.